Dr. Phillip Weinberg Founding Dean of the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
February 3, 2012
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends of the Slane College,
I write today in tribute to Philip Weinberg, our friend, colleague, and leader who died Thursday, February 2 in Peoria.
Phil Weinberg was a towering figure on our campus who was instrumental in transforming Bradley into the great comprehensive University it is today. He was an astonishing visionary who was one of Bradley's founders in the most meaningful sense of the word. Consider the foundations he laid at Bradley, in our community, and beyond.
In 1956 at the age of 31, Phil Weinberg accepted an offer from Bradley University to come to Peoria to found our Department of Electrical Engineering. The department grew and thrived under Phil's leadership as chairman, a position he held for twenty years. Phil's view of the academy was expansive, convergent, and audacious. He had a vision of higher learning that anticipated and embraced the transformative role of technology in education, commerce, the arts, and communication. He established the Office of Research Coordination and the Center for Learning Resources. He started WCBU-FM and WTVP-TV, which are now cornerstones of public media in Central Illinois. He served as WTVP's board president for many years, and is rightly called the father of public broadcasting in Peoria. In the 1970's, he described in a Scout interview his vision of the near future in which we would access printed texts through our television screens and send written messages to each other through a convergence of telephony and video" a decade before anyone had heard the word "email." Phil was the first person at Bradley to put personal computers on the desks of faculty members" Atari's that he bought at Target. He also conceived of a new kind of distance education through technology: he chartered an airplane to circle our broadcast area and deliver live coursework directly to the TV sets of homebound students.
Phil was particularly prescient in his recognition that the world would be powered by the creative-class convergence of technology, mass communication, and the arts. Accordingly, in 1977, this electrical engineer from Brooklyn became the founding dean of Bradley's College of Communications and Fine Arts" which Phil formed through an alignment of the School of Music, the School of Art, and two new departments: Theatre Arts and Communication. In nearly a decade as dean, Phil partnered with the faculty to create a dynamic academic vision for the College. He oversaw the creation of the Dingeldine Music Center, the Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts, and the Heuser Art Center, establishing our campus as a vibrant cultural center. His real delight, of course, was not so much in the buildings themselves, but in the learning, innovation, and creative work produced in them. Phil and his wife Rose attended and delighted in virtually every concert, recital, play, exhibition, and guest lecture in the college while he was dean and after he left the position.
In 1986, Phil returned to the College of Engineering and Technology as its dean, where he presided over another phase of innovation and expansion. He also played an active role in promoting and sustaining professional opera and ballet in Peoria. He was active in many national, state, and local organizations.
Philip Weinberg was, indeed, a Renaissance man.
Phil Weinberg's contributions to and influence on Bradley University and all of Central Illinois are profound and numerous. He was a great visionary, leader and educator. His presence will be missed on our campus, but his legacy remains a permanent part of the fiber and fabric of so many of the things that make us great today.
Our enduring gratitude to Phil at this time is exceeded only by our sadness at his passing and by our heartfelt condolences to his wife Rose and to their children, Fred, Susan, and Andrea and the entire Weinberg family.
Phil often left his friends with the traditional Yiddish phrase, "Zay gezunt." It means at once, "Be well" and "So long."
Zay Gezunt, Phil Weinberg.