The 2016 Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award was presented to Anabeth and John Weil in recognition of the couple’s exemplary dedication in advancing educational, cultural and social service institutions in the metropolitan area.
Given annually to a husband-wife team and administered by Washington University in St. Louis, the award was established in 2000 as part of a bequest made by the late Jane Freund Harris, who, with her husband, the late Whitney Harris, was a lifelong advocate for community service. They both recognized the need for, and value of, supporting institutions that contribute to the overall quality of life in a community. A committee, led by Michael Loynd, a 1999 Washington University graduate, oversees the selection process.
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton presented the award to the Weils at a luncheon at Harbison House on the Danforth Campus. In his remarks, Wrighton acknowledged the lasting legacy of Jane and Whitney Harris and thanked members of the Harris family who were in attendance.
“I’m sure Jane and Whitney would be pleased to see Anabeth and John recognized today for their outstanding support of the St. Louis community,” Wrighton said. “The Weils have demonstrated the type of commitment and dedication to the St. Louis region that Jane and Whitney cherished so highly and demonstrated in their own lives.”
As stipulated in the bequest, each couple receives $50,000 to donate to the organization(s) of their choice. The Weils chose to support the Saint Louis Art Museum and the university’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
Anabeth and John Weil
In the art world, Anabeth and John Weil are prominent collectors, specializing in post-war German art, and minimalist and conceptual art. But perhaps they are most passionate, and have been most influential, at the place where art and Forest Park intersect.
John, president of the investment management firm Clayton Management Co., is an honorary trustee of the Saint Louis Art Museum. As president of the museum’s board of commissioners from 2008-2011, he chaired its campaign for expansion. Through his leadership the campaign’s goal was exceeded.
As chief executive of Forest Park for more than 25 years, Anabeth has helped guide one of this community’s chief assets into the future. Home to major cultural institutions such as the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center and the Missouri History Museum, Anabeth helped develop and implement the $97 million Forest Park Master Plan. Furthermore, she created the Flora Conservancy to help maintain the vitality of the park. She currently serves as program specialist for St. Louis’ Parks Division and is a commissioner of the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Located at the east and west boundaries of Forest Park are the two main campuses of Washington University, another institution the Weils care deeply about. John is an emeritus trustee, and chairs the Sam Fox School National Council. Anabeth also is a member of the Sam Fox National Council, and chairs The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum Collections Committee. The couple co-chairs the Sam Fox School’s Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, and have contributed the lead gift of $12.5 million toward a new building for the school.
In addition, they are Life Members of the Danforth Circle Dean’s Level, and Sustaining Charter Members of the Danforth Circle Chancellor’s Level in the university’s William Greenleaf Eliot Society.
“The Weils are an extraordinary couple,” said Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts. “They have a great energy — an energy that I admire and that shapes their vision for the future of our school and its impact on the university and beyond.”