People and Community University

‘Heart of the Frost School’ passes away

Longtime University of Miami trustee Marta Weeks Wulf, the first woman to chair the University’s Board of Trustees, gave generously to the Frost School of Music and a multitude of other initiatives.
Marta Weeks
Marta Weeks Wulf, a longtime University of Miami trustee and generous supporter of the U, passed away on Sept. 1. 

All it needed was a million-dollar boost, and the University of Miami Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music’s vision for a new state-of-the-art performance and technology center would go from “a dream to let’s go.” 

That was the way Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School, put it eight years ago, when he presented an update on the soon-to-be-opened Knight Center for Music Innovation to a group of University trustees, which included benefactor Marta Weeks Wulf. 

“I told them we had reached a point where, if we had one more million-dollar gift, we would get the green light to go and get an architect and start planning,” Berg recalled. “Marta came up to me during a break in the meeting and said, ‘I’m giving you that million dollars.’ That’s just how exceedingly passionate about and generous to the Frost School she was.” 

Weeks Wulf, the longtime University of Miami trustee who became the first woman to chair the institution’s Board of Trustees, and who with her husband, the late geologist L. Austin Weeks, gave generously to the Frost School of Music and a multitude of other initiatives, passed away on Friday, Sept. 1. She was 93. 

“Marta’s intellectual curiosity, leadership, and generosity of spirit made her a force for good,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “We will miss her, and our hearts go out to her loved ones at this difficult time.” 

Laurie Silvers, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, described Weeks Wulf as “a visionary who put her heart into serving her community. She was a role model to all of us on the board and we will continue to draw inspiration from her servant leadership and her legacy of kindness and generosity.” 

Weeks Wulf became a dedicated member of the board in 1983, serving as its vice chair from 2002 to 2007 and as chair from 2007 to 2009. Her emeritus service began in 2010, and during her more than two decades of active trusteeship, she served on nearly every board committee. 

She influenced nearly all disciplines at the University, chairing the visiting committee of the Frost School of Music and serving on the visiting committees for the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Miami Herbert Business School; and the then-School of Continuing Studies. 

Helped transform the Frost School 

But it is her philanthropy to the Frost School that is arguably her greatest legacy to the University. With Austin, her first husband who passed away in 2005, she provided a naming gift to help build the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center at the music school, which opened in 2005 under the deanship of James William (Bill) Hipp. She also made a naming gift for the L. Austin Weeks Center for Recording and Performance. 

“Marta and her husband immediately perceived what our goals were and what we were striving to do, and they became very supportive,” Hipp said. “I never made a proposal to Austin and Marta Weeks for money. It was always their idea, which is what you always work toward, because you want people to perceive what your goals are, believe in them, and then respond in the way they did. And they did so in very profound ways. Marta was very quiet, very modest, profoundly caring, and at the same time, very private about their extraordinary philanthropy.” 

Once, Hipp and his wife hosted Weeks Wulf at their home, and as the evening was winding down, the trustee expressed a desire to honor her husband while at the same time help the music school fill a critical need. “I said to her, ‘Don’t move,’ ” Hipp recalled. “I then ran to my office on campus and grabbed the plans for a new center for recording and performance. I brought the plans and showed them to her, and without hesitation, she said she wanted to fund it.” 

Today, the L. Austin Weeks Center for Recording and Performance is known as one of the best academic recording studios in the world. 

“Marta was a tremendous philanthropist and believer in the U. Investing in our students was always her passion, and her incredible generosity helped so many of them to realize their dreams,” said Josh Friedman, senior vice president of Development and Alumni Relations. “Her impact on this University will truly live on forever.” 

Supported students 

The daughter of a schoolteacher, Weeks Wulf understood the value of education, a belief that led her and her husband to name and endow two scholarships exclusive to the Frost School and a third endowed scholarship to assist other aspiring ’Canes more broadly. 

Weeks Wulf would often meet with her scholarship recipients, hearing their stories and learning how the scholarship they received helped them fulfill their dreams of a college education. The scholarship Frost School alumnus Steven R. Dunn received through the generosity of Weeks Wulf “changed the trajectory of my life,” he said. 

“The wind in our sails is Phillip and Patricia Frost, but I always, in a certain way, have considered Marta the heart of the Frost School,” said Berg, noting that the quadrangle on the music school grounds is named the Marta Weeks quad. “Among our peers, Frost is an aspirational music school, and it’s hard to imagine that we could have attained that status without Marta’s generosity.” 

An advocate for academics, the arts, health care, and research at the University, Weeks Wulf wielded her generosity to touch nearly every aspect of the University, giving generously to the Rosenstiel School; the School of Nursing and Health Studies; the Miller School of Medicine; and the Debbie Institute at the Mailman Center for Child Development. She also established two endowed chairs: the Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies and the Weeks Chair in Marine Geology and Geophysics. She created the L. Austin Weeks Family Endowed Urologic Research fund and supported the Foote Fellows fund. 

Marta Sutton Weeks Wulf was born May 24, 1930, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

She received her early education in Holladay, Utah, and at the Bella Vista school in Maracaibo, Venezuela, later graduating from a high school—St. Mary-of-the-Wasatch Academy—in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1947. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University in 1951. 

After she married Austin Weeks in 1951, she lived in Utah, later moving to Colorado, California, and Maryland before moving to Florida in 1967. 

In 1990, she graduated from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas, and was ordained an Episcopal priest, stepping down from her duties as a University of Miami trustee before returning to serve on the board. “She performed the wedding ceremony for our youngest daughter,” Hipp recalled. 

In 2008, she married Karleton Wulf, who passed away in 2020. 

Weeks Wulf is survived by a son, Kermit Weeks; a daughter, Leslie Davies, who is a University alumna, and three grandchildren.