Some things come full circle. For David Weiss '71, it was his SLUH experience—one that provided him the foundation to fulfill his dreams while inspiring him to give future Jr. Bills that same opportunity in a meaningful and enduring way.
"St. Louis U. High taught me how to learn," says Weiss, who grew up near Carondelet Park and attended St. Stephen Protomartyr. "The intellectual challenge gave me the tools for success later in life, and the camaraderie among my classmates provided a safe space to express myself and to find my footing in what was a difficult time for me personally and what was playing out in our country."
Weiss found his footing at SLUH in theatre tech. While he dabbled in riflery and bowling, it was theatre that most interested him. His mentor, Joe Schulte, provided him not only with the skills to become a key member of the Dauphin Players but also the passion to pursue theatre beyond high school.
After earning his bachelor's degree from Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts and a master's in arts administration from the University of Michigan, Weiss worked managing arts and theatre programs from Actors Theater of Louisville and Arrow Rock's Lyceum Theatre to Connecticut College's Summerscene for six years before pursuing a career in law.
"When I decided to go to law school, it was a challenge, especially after being out of school for six years. The rigors of studying theatre and liberal arts aren't exactly the same as the study of law, but I drew back on how I learned at St. Louis U. High," says Weiss, who attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. "That's how I approached my legal studies, which netted me a position on Pitt's Law Review, so the approach I learned at SLUH was solid and transferrable."
Weiss returned to St. Louis after law school to work in the city counselor's office. He has served as a business lawyer for the city of St. Louis his entire career, which included forming and managing his own firm, Weiss & Associates, for 31-plus years, which gave him an outlet for his creative energy as well. In 2017, he joined Sandberg Phoenix where he counsels business owners, associations and individuals in a variety of transactional and litigation matters.
A longtime member of the SLUH Alumni Board, Weiss enjoys staying in touch with SLUH and visiting with classmates, however the opportunity arises.
"Things have come full circle," he says, referring to Sunrise Socials, a series of virtual monthly get-togethers with classmates, "arising either because so many classmates recognize we do want to stay connected, and perhaps get to know some whom we really never knew, or as an outgrowth of the pandemic that gave each of us more time than before." Either way, members of the Class of '71 share humor, tell stories, ask for prayers and show support for one another. "That's life—being there for each other in good times and bad."
Reflecting on his journey, Weiss remains grateful for his formation at St. Louis U. High and has designated the school as a beneficiary of his estate for a fully endowed scholarship. He chose to create a scholarship because the corpus remains intact and the earnings give in perpetuity, so it's a gift that will continue to give indefinitely.
"I've had a wonderful life," Weiss says. "My profession has given me the opportunity to help others pursue their dreams. I want future students at SLUH to have that same opportunity, to pursue their own dreams."
Like Weiss, you can give back to SLUH and, in the process, equip future students with the tools and confidence to succeed in life. Learn more by contacting Linda Domeyer at (314) 269-2113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.