From a bleak diagnosis to a bright future, Erik Weber’s story is an inspiring one.
At the age of three, Erik Weber was diagnosed with autism. Doctors informed his parents that he would reach the mental development of an 18-month-old, at best, and recommended seeking out an institution at which Erik could live his life. Erik’s parents, however, had hope in a different future for him.
The journey to that future has not been easy. Unfortunately, Erik’s family was struck by tragedy when he was eight years old. His father, Richard, died unexpectedly during a business trip to Turkey.
Despite the many challenges they have faced, Erik and his mother have persevered, and Erik has excelled beyond the doctors’ expectations. In 2006, he graduated high school from San Diego’s Excelsior Academy; in 2008, he graduated from Grossmont College with an associate degree in general education. He graduated from both institutions with a GPA above 3.5. Most recently, he has graduated Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 3.9 or above) from PLNU with a major in International Development Studies and was inducted into the Phi Delta Lambda Alumni Honor Society. The Fermanian School of Business also named him the International Developmental Studies Student of the Year for 2009.
Outside of academics and PLNU, Erik has been busy with additional interests as well. He is a Special Olympics gold medalist, and, in 2008, he published a book titled “Autism for Dads: The Importance of a Father’s Love”. He has been featured in various newsletters and articles and will be interviewed for a “Salute to Teachers” special on San Diego’s local Channel 4 television station, airing in October. He also has taken part in research studies and has been a guest speaker in special education classes. Most recently, the San Diego City Council honored Erik by naming July 14, 2009, “Erik Weber Day” in San Diego.
Erik’s future continues to look bright and full of exciting opportunity. This fall, he will begin a graduate program at San Diego State University for a Master’s in Public Administration. His career goals are in the field of international business.
In a recent interview with Erik’s mother, Sandy, she expressed the deep love and appreciation which she and Erik have for PLNU. They feel the university has done much to help transform their dream of Erik earning his bachelor’s degree into reality. She said they frequently tell other families with disabled children about their wonderful experience at PLNU. She spoke of her sadness in having to leave the “haven” that PLNU has been, but she said Erik will have continuing pride as an alumnus of PLNU. At many of Erik’s public engagements, he can be seen wearing a PLNU pin or shirt, proudly representing his Alma Mater.