Daily Inter Lake publisher Rick Weaver was honored Monday afternoon as the fourth recipient of Flathead Valley Community College’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Weaver is a Kalispell native who entered Flathead Valley Community College in 1971 after graduation from Flathead High School. He graduated from FVCC in 1973 and then attended the University of Montana, where he completed his degree in history.
“I’m surprised and shocked, but very grateful to receive this award,” Weaver said after receiving a standing ovation at the college’s fourth annual spring luncheon. Weaver noted that 40 years ago, he was working at the Daily Inter Lake and attending FVCC, and today he again was working at the Inter Lake and back at FVCC to receive the award.
Weaver, who recently joined the alumni committee at the college, is a big booster of FVCC and was instrumental in putting together a series of candidate forums including a U.S. Senate debate on campus last fall.
In addition to his work with the college, Weaver has been an active community booster in many other roles during his career, which has included jobs as publisher in Havre, Bozeman and Nampa, Idaho.
His newspaper career began when he was a paperboy for the Daily Inter Lake in the 1960s. He then worked at the paper in various part-time jobs through his high school and college years and was named assistant circulation director at the Inter Lake after graduating from UM in 1975. He later was both circulation director and advertising director at the Inter Lake.
He has served on many boards, including those of the Salvation Army in Havre, the Gallatin Development Corporation in Bozeman, the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and Montana West Economic Development. He has also been president of the Montana Newspaper Association, served on the University of Montana alumni board and been active in Rotary and United Way.
The award was presented to Weaver by Ryan Mitchell, last year’s winner and a member of the Ambassadors and Alumni Committee, which hosted the luncheon.
Mitchell read from the nomination, noting that Weaver’s story “is exemplary of the kind of career that a hometown boy or girl can aspire to after beginning their college education at Flathead Valley Community College.”
A 1968 newspaper ad in the Daily Inter Lake touting the accomplishments of local newspaper carriers was also noted in the nomination. The ad listed Weaver as one of the "Young Men and Women Most Likely to Succeed."
“That forecast has certainly been fulfilled many times over,” the nomination form said. “Now, as Weaver has returned to his hometown after many years away, he is leading the Daily Inter Lake during a period of change and transition and has a vision of ensuring that the newspaper remains a vital community partner in the years ahead.”