Peggy Weidman was responsible for many things that enhanced life in the greater Fort Smith region, but her love for alma mater, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, was exceptional.
Peggy Raynor Weidman, a nursing graduate of Westark Community College in 1973, was a co-founder of the Reynolds Cancer Support House; a member of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, the Arkansas Planning Commission, and the Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Commission; and a supporter of several organizations promoting the arts in Fort Smith.
At UAFS, she was a member of the Board of Visitors and a supporter of the Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts and the Season of Entertainment. She also was a strong financial supporter of the university.
In recognition of her many contributions, Weidman received the second annual Diligence to Victory Award in 2011. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the UAFS Alumni Association, acknowledges outstanding alumni achievement at the university and in the broader world.
Peggy Weidman and her husband Bill supported the university with their treasure as well as with their time and talent. Perhaps their most visible gift to the university is the sculpture in front of Windgate Art and Design on Waldron Road,
“Tossed About” is a steel and aluminum sculpture by local artist Greer Farris. At the time of the gift, Peggy Weidman said, “Art is music for the eyes, and this piece is a symphony.”
But their greater gift to the university, its students, and its community are their living legacies, The Bill and Peggy Weidman Nursing Scholarship and the Peggy Raynor and Bill M. Weidman Endowment.
“Being a part of something like this is very rewarding, especially knowing our gift will continue beyond our lifetime,” Peggy Weidman said at the time. “The health sciences field is one that impacts all of society and will forever. Who knows what achievements today’s students might accomplish? Then, multiply that by hundreds of students over many years, and it is a powerful legacy.”
In gratitude for the generous gift, UAFS named a multipurpose room in the Pendergraft Health Sciences Center as the Weidman Center. The Weidman Center serves the university and is available to the community as a meeting room, conference center, and a place for special events.
In 2017, Peggy and Bill Weidman died as they lived: together. Peggy died after a three-year battle with cancer. Bill Weidman, 80, died four days later.
About the double loss, then-Chancellor Paul Beran said, “This week we lost not only strong supporters and an alumna; we lost dear friends. Janice and I along with the whole UAFS family will miss them more than we can say.”