Shirley Friedlander Weiss, a member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty for more than 35 years and generous supporter of numerous campus programs as well as national arts, music and science organizations, died Tuesday, August 31, at Carol Woods Retirement Community. She was 89. Professor Emerita Shirley F. Weiss was one of the first women faculty members at UNC Chapel Hill and a leading scholar in the field of urban planning. She was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award from UNC Chapel Hill in 2003.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the New Jersey College for Women at Rutgers University in 1942, Weiss went on to complete her Master of Regional Planning degree from the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at Chapel Hill in 1958. Shirley Weiss became DCRP’s first female faculty member and was promoted to full Professor after receiving her Ph.D. from Duke University in economics in 1973. Weiss, a pioneer in urban research, served as Associate Research Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. She was also Acting Director of Women’s Studies. Before coming to UNC-CH, Weiss worked with the Maryland State Planning Commission and with planning consultants Harrison, Ballard and Allen in NYC.
Shirley Friedlander Weiss was born February 26, 1921, the second daughter of Max and Vera Friedlander, New York City. She married Charles M. Weiss on June 7, 1942 and they spent the next 68 years engaged in scholarship, teaching and traveling the world. They enjoyed and supported a range of musical, artistic and science endeavors and created an interdisciplinary fellowship program, the Weiss Urban Livability Program which has supported more than 150 graduate students at UNC-CH.
Together with her husband, Shirley and Charles Weiss provided generous support to over a dozen programs at UNC Chapel Hill, including the Graduate School Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship Program, the Departments of City and Regional Planning, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Music and Art, the Carolina Performing Arts Program, the University Library, the Ackland Art Museum, WUNC-FM, the Botanical Gardens, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and Student Financial Aid, among others.
Shirley Weiss is survived by her loving husband of 68 years, Charles M. Weiss, and many friends and colleagues in Chapel Hill.
A memorial service has been planned for Saturday, September 25th at 2:00 p.m. at the Carol Woods Retirement Community Assembly Hall. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Weiss Urban Livability Fellows Program, c/o the Graduate School, 214 Bynum Hall, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-9862.