Weston honors influencers


Denali Drake

As homecoming week comes to an end, NMU prepares to honor two important people who made a profound impact on students, professors, community members and the world. 

The Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of what was formerly the New Science building to Weston Hall after Kathleen Weston, as well as the naming of Lucas Atrium after David Lucas. 

Weston graduated from NMU in 1929 and was one of the first women of her time to complete a degree in biology. 

Having lived 107 years on this Earth, she was able to make a profound impact inside Marquette and farther afield, working many years at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. as a professor. 

Weston went on to work on a polio research team, which resulted in the discovery of the Salk polio vaccine, saving millions of lives and changing the world of medicine. 

Her impact is still felt on this campus decades after her graduation by those who had personal connections to her work.

“My mom was a victim of polio back in the early ‘50s, and [Weston] was involved in creating that vaccine, she was on that research team. It’s a very personal connection for me because polio affected my life,” Hall said.

Lucas, honoree for the atrium, was a beloved physics professor, pre-med advisor, devoted NMU sports fan and family man. Chief Marketing Officer Derek Hall did not know Lucas personally, however he has witnessed the outpouring of love that alumni have for the distinguished faculty member.

“Dave made a major impact on so many students, and after his passing, there was a desire to recognize that,” Hall said.

Lucas passed away in 2015, and the impact hit NMU hard. Alumni and students alike flooded to Facebook to share their appreciation for the professor who had changed their lives. 

Some credited their attendance at NMU to him, others said they owed their medical degrees to him, and much more. 

All are welcome and invited to the dedication ceremony at 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, located on the second floor of the atrium, standing room only.