When Coloma High School graduate Rodney Weir left for the University of Michigan he had no idea his experience with the local high school band would take him to the Tournament of Roses. He also didn’t know his entire educational experience would lead him to start a scholarship that would reach back and encourage others to pursue their educational goals.
This year the theme for the Tournament of Roses Parade is The Transformative Power of Education. That was definitely the case for Weir when he led the University of Michigan Marching Band as Drum Major in Pasadena on January 1, 1992. Now, the experience has come full circle. As a way to recognize the importance of education and the opportunities marching band provided to him, Weir started the Rodney Weir Marching Band Scholarship. This endowed scholarship at the Berrien Community Foundation encourages high school band members from Berrien County to participate in the marching band experience at the college level.
“Band teaches teamwork, leadership, and accountability; all skills that lead to success with any life or career path,” Weir said of the importance of marching band.
Weir continued his education, has received four college degrees and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Western Michigan University. He also makes sure to volunteer and give back to his community.
“Going to college can open doors and create opportunities,” Weir said. “I started this scholarship to encourage local high school students to take that step and further their education.”
Weir, an avid runner, still participates in Tournament of Roses Parade events, having run the Tournament of Roses half marathon. While he may not be able to pull off the famous backbend of the University of Michigan drum major anymore, he continues to cheer on the Michigan Wolverines.
Students can apply for the Rodney Weir Marching Band Scholarship and many other scholarships at the Berrien Community Foundation website at www.berriencommunity.org/scholar. The scholarship is open to all Berrien County students who participated in marching band in high school and intend to continue their band participation at the college level.