Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 05: Administration – Board of Trustees
Series 09: Biography – Trustees

WILLIS D. WEATHERFORD, Jr. – Chairman, PMSS Board of Trustees, 1970s

TAGS: Willis D. Weatherford ; PMSS Board of Trustees ; Berea College ; Dr. Willis Duke Weatherford Jr. ; Appalachian development ; liberal education ; fundraising ; endowments ; Willis D. Weatherford Sr ; fellowships ; Swarthmore College ; American Friends Service Committee ; refugee relief ; World War II ; Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) ; board memberships ; Anne Cobbs Smith Weatherford ;

Willis D. Weatherford was the sixth president of Berea College, serving from 1967 until 1984. Consequently, he also became a Trustee of the Pine Mountain Settlement School. This arrangement was due to a close and cooperative relationship that both schools had since 1949 in which Berea “provides guidance and counsel to Pine Mountain through four trustee positions and in other appropriate ways.”

Dr. Weatherford’s excellent qualities and skills greatly benefitted Berea College and also were applicable to the needs of the settlement school. A May 24, 1996, article in The Courier-Journal described him as “…a man of quiet, reflective dignity and a forceful advocate for [Berea College’s] commitment to Appalachia, to poor but deserving students and to liberal education.” One of Willis Jr.’s most important accomplishments at Berea was in the area of fundraising, having increased Berea’s endowment by more than $40 million during his tenure.

Pine Mountain Settlement School records show that Dr. Weatherford was Chairman of the School’s Board of Trustees in 1973 and 1974. He became Honorary Trustee in 1979 and continued his association with PMSS at least into the 1980s. According to the 1983 Homecoming Report, he joined in a special discussion of the School’s future and also gave a Chapel talk: “Dr. Weatherford talked about Pine Mountain’s past, its uniqueness and its time as the most progressive school in the country….[He] spoke of the early ‘workers’ and wisely remarked that ‘they gave, not with pain or complaint, but with joy.’ ”

His father’s work was most likely his greatest inspiration and influence. Willis D. Weatherford Sr. was a pioneer in Appalachian development, youth work and race relations. Also, Willis Sr. was an effective Berea College advisor and trustee for 47 years.

Dr. Weatherford Jr. earned a bachelor of arts degree from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. He then continued his education at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, where he received master’s and doctorate degrees. He was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and had been a Harvard University Fellow, a Ford Foundation Research Fellow and a Kent Fellow.

Before coming to Berea College in 1979, Dr. Weatherford was Associate Professor of Economics at Swarthmore (PA) College for 17 years and was Dean of Carleton College in Northfield, MN, for two years. He became President of Berea College in 1967, succeeding Francis S. Hutchins (1939–1967) and followed by John B. Stephenson (1984-1994), then Larry D. Shinn (1994-2012). All have been members of PMSS Board of Trustees. The current president, Lyle D. Roelofs, continues in that tradition.

Dr. Weatherford’s volunteer and research work took him to Malaya, India and Europe. Of special note was his work with American Friends Service Committee which included Refugee Relief in Europe for three years during and after World War II. From 1961 to 1965, he was director of the Volunteer Assistance Division of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).

Throughout his life, Dr. Weatherford was active in many academic, service and religious organizations. In addition to serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at Pine Mountain Settlement School in the 1970s, he was also a trustee of the Frontier Nursing Service, Warren Wilson College, YMCA and the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Dr. Willis Duke Weatherford Jr. was born in Biltmore, NC, on June 24, 1916, the son of Willis Duke Weatherford, Sr., and Julia McCrory Weatherford. At the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, his father was president of the “Y.M.C.A. School” in Nashville, TN.

Willis Jr. and his wife, Anne Cobbs Smith Weatherford, had four daughters (Edith, Alice, Julia, Susan) and one son (Willis D. Weatherford III).

Dr. Weatherford died at age 79, in Black Mountain, NC, on May 22, 1996. He was buried in Berea Cemetery.

SEE Program of Berea Memorial Service BELOW

1983 PMSS Homecoming, p. 14. “After the Sunday morning Chapel Service. Dr. W. Weatherford, the newly arrived co-directors, Carol and Jim Urquhart and Bill Dawn.” [1983_homecoming_0034.jpg]

GALLERY: Willis D. Weatherford – Berea Memorial Service


Willis D. Weatherford

Alt. Title

Dr. Willis D. Weatherford ; Willis Weatherford ; Willis Duke Weatherford Jr. ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Willis D. Weatherford ; Dr. Willis D. Weatherford ; Willis Weatherford ; Willis Duke Weatherford Jr. ;Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Berea College ; Appalachian development ; liberal education ; fundraising ; endowments ; homecomings ; honorary trustees ; Willis D. Weatherford Sr. ; Vanderbilt University ; Yale University Divinity School ; Harvard University ; Phi Beta Kappa ; fellowships ; Swarthmore College ; Francis S. Hutchins ; John B. Stephenson ; Larry D. Shinn ; Lyle D. Roelofs ; American Friends Service Committee ; refugee relief ; World War II ; Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) ; Frontier Nursing Service ; Warren Wilson College ; YMCA ; American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities ; Julia McCrory Weatherford ; YMCA Night Law School ; Anne Cobbs Smith Weatherford ;

Subject LCSH

Weatherford, Willis Duke, — June 24, 1916 – May 22, 1996.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.


Series 05: Administration – Board of Trustees




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 05: Administration – Board of Trustees.

Coverage Temporal

1916 – 1996

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Berea, KY ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Willis D. Weatherford; clippings, photographs, books by or about Willis D. Weatherford.




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2017-07-13 aae ; 2019-02-18 hhw



“Willis D. Weatherford, Jr.” Series 05: Administration – Board of Trustees. 1983 Alumni RelationsGuide to PMSS Boards of Trustees ; Guide to PMSS Workers 1913-2000s. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9R88-989W?i=66&cc=1810731: accessed 15 July 2017), Tennessee > Davidson > District 07 > ED 221 > image 67 of 69; citing NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002). Internet resource.

Wilson, Richard. “Willis Weatherford dies; led Berea College from 1967 until 1984.” The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY. 1996-05-24, page 20. Print.


Weatherford, Willis D. Economies of the World Today: Their Organization, Development and Performance. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966. Print.

Weatherford, Willis D. Geographic Differentials of Agricultural Wages in the United States. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1957. Print.

Weatherford, Willis D. Student Life and Higher Education: A Conference for Visiting Fulbright Scholars at Swarthmore, Pa., June 9-13, 1954. Swarthmore, Pa: Swarthmore College, 1957. Print.

Southern Appalachian Studies, Willis D. Weatherford, Sr. – Files and Correspondence. Berea College, 1958. Internet resource.

Weatherford, Willis D. Sr. Willis D. Weatherford Papers, 1911-1969. Archival material.

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