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Dr. Wilford Weber to Receive Posthumous Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award

Dr. Wilford Weber

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 2, 2007) – On and off the baseball field, Dr. Wilford Weber dedicated much of his life to furthering the education of children in his adopted hometown of Houston, Texas, and Little League International will recognize his commitment with the presentation of the Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award at the 61st Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“Will Weber embraced the mission of Little League and recognized the significance of the Little League Urban Initiative,” David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Volunteering as a local league umpire and umpiring Texas District 16 tournaments was only a small part of his contribution to Little League in Houston. As the only president Neartown Little League ever had, he was a leader in the community and instrumental in establishing the league. His vision of Little Leaguers playing on a splendid field was realized with the dedication of Eric Hilton Field at Wharton Elementary School in Houston.”

Dr. Weber, a native of Pennsburg, Pa., passed away in June. He was 68.

A graduate of Perkiomen High School in Pennsburg, Dr. Weber attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., where he received a bachelor’s degree in history. He later earned his doctorate in education from Philadelphia’s Temple University.

Professionally, Dr. Weber was an assistant professor at Syracuse University in New York, before accepting a teaching position at the University of Houston. At the University of Houston he was an associate professor, twice serving as department chair of Curriculum and Instruction.

Dr. Weber served on the committee that wrote the first Houston Independent School District Student Code of Conduct, was executive director of the Houston Association of School Administrators, and consulted for schools throughout Texas. He also trained teachers for the Department of Defense in Italy and Germany, and helped to orient scientists to become classroom teachers through the Baylor College of Medicine in Waco, Texas.

“Will Weber was not just one of the league presidents in my district, he was a close personal friend,” Charlie Fox, Texas District 16 administrator, said. “His energy was endless and was emulated by his board of directors, but more importantly, by the players in Neartown Little League.

“Everywhere Will went he made an impression on people,” Mr. Fox said. “When not busy with league matters he was watching his grandson play ball. Last year, Will, his family, and I traveled to Williamsport to watch the Urban Jamboree teams, and a few World Series games. Will played a large role in the development of the Little League Urban Initiative in Houston.”

Little League International created the Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of the vital volunteer service being performed by thousands of dedicated people in urban settings around the country. This award annually acknowledges an adult volunteer involved with a Little League program participating in the Urban Initiative. The recipient has provided a positive Little League experience for the children and adults within a local league’s metropolitan neighborhood or community.

“Dr. Weber’s selfless commitment on behalf of the current and future children and volunteers in Neartown Little League can not be understated or overlooked,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Such commitment to a dream should be applauded by all who had a hand in the chartering of Neartown Little League and those who reap the benefits of his vision and leadership. For these reasons, Little League is honored to present Dr. Weber’s family with the award.”

Mr. Paster, the president of the Little League Foundation Board of Trustees, is executive vice president of public relations and public affairs, at WPP Group, and was chairman of “A World of Opportunity - Little League Baseball Capital Campaign for the Future.” Mrs. Paster is director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The Little League Urban Initiative has seen success in more than 85 U.S. cities since it began in 2000. In the past year, Lemon Grove Little League and Encanto Little League near San Diego; Culver Marina Little League in Los Angeles; Lighthouse Little League in Philadelphia; and Neartown Little League were among several leagues that received funding and assistance through the Little League Urban Initiative. Currently, more than 200 local Little Leagues in the U.S. are part of the Urban Initiative. Through 2006, the program stimulated the addition of 2,779 teams and 33,000 players.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.