UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Survivors Benefit Fund (SBF) has established an undergraduate award for crime, law and justice majors in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in memory of Michael Weston, a DEA special agent and Marine officer who was killed on a joint counter-narcotics mission in Afghanistan.
The Michael E. Weston Memorial Award will recognize outstanding achievement by a crime, law and justice undergraduate major who is either on military active duty or a military veteran enrolled at Penn State. The award was created by a $25,000 gift from the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund to the Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice in the College of the Liberal Arts.
“We are honored that the DEA has chosen our crime, law and justice program to establish this tribute to Mike Weston,” said Susan Welch, the Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “The crime, law and justice major is one of our largest programs, with nearly 600 undergraduate majors, 25 graduate students, and a faculty of 15 which is nationally prominent. The Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice is widely recognized as among the best in the nation and offers an exceptional education for our undergraduate and graduate students. Several of our Crime, Law and Justice alumni are working today in state and federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA, the FBI and Homeland Security.”
DEA SBF representative Richard Crock said, “Mike was considered a hero by all who knew him. He chose a life of service to his country over a financially lucrative career, first in the Marines and then the Drug Enforcement Administration. Mike was known for his intelligence, humor and tireless ability to do anything. We hope this award will inspire Penn State undergraduates in their careers and their lives. And they remember the sacrifices that men and women in law enforcement and the military have made to protect our freedoms in our nation.”
Weston grew up in California and Pennsylvania, graduating from State College Area High School and becoming a hometown fan of Penn State. He earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science and economics from Stanford University and then a degree in law from Harvard University Law School. Weston served in the Marine Corps in a variety of capacities including as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and a Squad Leader. He joined DEA in 2003 and worked on a number of significant cases targeting international, national and local drug-trafficking organizations.
In July 2009, Weston started his fourth tour in six years in a combat zone and volunteered to serve on the DEA’s mission in Afghanistan. In October 2009, he died in a U.S. military helicopter crash while returning from a joint mission in western Afghanistan.