Randy Eckman (BSAAE ’13) is working for National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) in the job of his dreams. His assignment is with the
group monitoring the orbit of the International Space Station from Mission
Control, at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
“I had wanted to work for NASA as long
as I could remember,” Eckman said. “I
found out about Purdue because, in middle
school, I asked a mentor of mine who was
in college how I could get a job working
in Mission Control. His answer, word for
word, was ‘Study aerospace engineering
at Purdue University.’ I figured that if a
Vanderbilt physics student told me to go
to Purdue, it was clearly the right answer.”
Eckman said he would not be where he is
today without the scholarship support he
received during his time in West Lafayette.
One example in particular is the Marc
Christopher Weaver Memorial Scholarship,
specifically designated for aeronautical and
astronautical engineering students.
“I was an out-of-state student from a
modest family,” he said. “Scholarships were
essential to providing the opportunity to attend
such a storied institution as Purdue and gave
me a gateway to achieving my goals. I strongly
believe all students have the potential to do
great things, but many lack access to education
in order to realize that potential.”
The drive to learn lives on
Rick (BSChE ’65) and Rita
Weaver established the
scholarship in memory of
their son, Marc Weaver
(BSAAE ’94, MSAAE ’95).
Marc spent around six
and a half years on the Purdue campus
pursuing both his degrees. A co-op student,
he had assignments at Edwards Air Force
Base in California. After leaving Purdue, he
worked for nearly three years at Lockheed
Martin in Denver. Driven by a continued
passion for learning, he also was enrolled in
a part-time master’s program in computer
science at the time of his death.
A gift supporting the same thirst for
education in others seemed fitting.
“There was never any question that, as
a family, we wanted to establish a lasting
memorial for Marc,” recalled Rick Weaver.
“The hardest part was deciding what form
it would take. In the end, it was clear that
the best fit would be an endowed scholar-
ship, which would exist hopefully forever
and benefit generations of students.”
In addition, another opportunity
allowed them to extend the gift further. As
the Weavers considered their gift amount
in early 2012, they learned about a new
matching gift initiative at Purdue — the
Indiana Challenge Match, a $6.7 million
fund that helped donors meet the neces-
sary minimum to establish a scholarship
endowment by matching a cash gift.
“That is what led to the creation of a second scholarship with essentially the same
selection criteria but for Indiana students
only,” Rick said. “Since both Rita and I were
born and raised in Indiana, it all made good
sense.” Co-op participation, like Marc's
experience, is another core criterion.
Engineers helping engineers
The Weaver family has a strong engineer-
ing component. After earning his Purdue
degree, Rick worked many years for Air
Products and Chemicals Inc. Greg, their
oldest son, has an engineering degree from
the University of Colorado Boulder, and
Jason, the youngest, earned his Purdue
degree in mechanical engineering in 2005.
“I have fond memories of my time at
Purdue and am still close to many of the
friends I made in and out of class,” said Jason.
“In a way, the scholarship helps me feel con-
nected to Purdue years after I was there.”
Greg adds, “It is my hope that these
scholarships help young engineers achieve
their educational goals and provide them
some measure of financial support. I also
hope this support inspires them throughout
their lives and encourages them to eventu-
ally consider giving back to Purdue.”
Rick and Rita are proud to have met
most of the recipients. “We love meet-
ing with them and hearing about their
backgrounds, co-op assignments, and
aspirations,” Rita said.
“We’re certain that Marc would be
pleased and proud that these scholarships
were established in his memory,” Rick said.
“No doubt, he would be extremely pleased
to know that he is helping another generation of Purdue aerospace students fulfill