Weber State University’s rich history extends from the late nineteenth century to today.
- Weber Stake Academy is established by the Weber Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the first day of classes, Jan. 7, 1889, approximately 100 students crowd into the red-brick church meetinghouse on the southwest corner of Grant Avenue and 26th Street, Ogden. The academy offers elementary and high school classes with a focus on training future teachers. Louis F. Moench is the first president.
- Weber Stake Academy moves to the Ogden Tabernacle in 1890 to accommodate a growing number of students, but its tabernacle home is short-lived due to fear the government may confiscate the building if it’s used for nonreligious purposes. The academy closes for 18 months while a new building is constructed in downtown Ogden.
- Weber Stake Academy adopts purple and white as its school colors in 1901.
- Weber Stake Academy becomes Weber Academy in 1902.
- The academy’s first newspaper-type publication, The Acorn, is published in 1904.
- In 1904, Weber physics students send an exhibit to the World’s Fair. Noted attendees of the fair include John Philip Sousa, Helen Keller and Geronimo.
- The first campus bookstore opens in 1911 for the sale of textbooks only.
- The Weber Herald newspaper begins publication during the 1916–17 school year.
- Weber Academy stops offering elementary classes and focuses on a six-year program for teachers (four years of high school and two years of college). The first class graduates in 1917.
- In 1918, Weber Academy became Weber Normal College, reflecting the school’s emphasis on teacher education.
- The annual Mount Ogden Hike starts in 1922. At the time, students mark the occasion by erecting a flagpole and painting a “W” on the mountain. While the “W” is no longer painted, the hike to the 9,570 foot summit is now a Homecoming Week tradition.
- The college’s name changes again in 1922, this time to Weber College.
- In 1928, football player Wallace Morris is nicknamed “Wildcat” Morris. As the team continues to refer to Morris as “Wildcat,” a local sportswriter refers to the team as “scrappy as a bunch of wildcats.” The name sticks, and the team becomes the Wildcats. In 1928, Weber College’s first associate of science degree is conferred.
- In the 1931–1932 school year, during The Great Depression, Weber College President Aaron Tracy allows tuition to be paid with produce and meat instead of money.
- In 1933, Weber College is transferred from the LDS Church to the State of Utah. At this time, Weber becomes a state-supported two-year college.
- The Weber Herald ceases publication in 1935 and is replaced with a bulletin board used to disseminate campus news known as the Signpost.
- Weber’s student-run newspaper, The Signpost, begins publication in fall quarter 1937.
- In 1944, Weber College leases 80 acres of present-day Snowbasin Resort for a summer school and winter sports area.
- In Spring 1945, students approach President H. Aldous Dixon to see if they can hold a dance before graduation. At the Polygamist Prance, men are allowed to attend with more than one date due to a shortage of men caused by the World War II draft. One young man rents a milk truck so he can transport his 10 dates to the dance.
- With the GI Bill having passed in 1944, many World War II veterans return home in search of a college education. Weber College’s enrollment jumps from 465 students in the 1944–1945 school year to 967 in 1945–46.
- In 1947, Weber College purchases 175 acres near Harrison Boulevard, between 37th and 40th Street, in Ogden (the site of today’s campus) for approximately $100,000.
- WSU’s celebrated nursing program begins in 1953, when Weber College is one of seven schools nationwide to be selected to pilot a revolutionary associate’s degree model for nursing education to combat a nursing shortage.
- In 1953, the football stadium is built with seating capacity of 3,500.
- A 1953 public referendum deciding whether to return Weber College to the LDS Church or not after the Utah Legislature withdraws its support for the college results in 80,000 “yes” votes and 120,000 “no” votes. The outpouring of public support reversed the legislative decision and cemented the relationship between college and town.
- Classes begin at the new “upper campus” on Harrison Boulevard on Sept. 22, 1954, with the “lower campus” still in operation in downtown Ogden. The Ogden Bus Company transports students between the two campuses for 7 cents each way.
- After flares used to create a giant flaming “W” on the mountainside above campus ignite a 25-acre wildfire in 1957, Weber College switches to electric lights.
- The men’s basketball team, coached by Bruce Larson, wins the Junior College National Championship in 1959. The team finishes the season with 34 wins and 3 loses.
- Throughout the 1960s, many buildings are constructed on campus, including student residence halls, the gymnasium and the library, and the football stadium is expanded.
- In its new home on Harrison Boulevard in 1962, Weber College becomes Weber State College and is granted the authority to transition from a junior college to a senior college.
- In 1964, a permanent campus police staff is organized. Before that time, members of the campus maintenance department were authorized to issue parking tickets.
- The school radio station (KWCR “The Beat”) is approved by the FCC in 1965. KWCR is still in operation today out of the Shepherd Union Building.
- In 1965, the college’s first federal grant in the amount of $2,000 dollars is awarded to science faculty members in the botany department.
- In March 1967, Weber State’s first student parking decals sell for $1 each.
- In the 1970s, more buildings are added to campus, including the Education Building and Dee Events Center. The Ada Lindquist Plaza and Fountain are also added.
- A groundbreaking is held for the Dee Events Center in 1975. Construction costs for the 12,000-seat facility are $11.3 million.
- The first basketball game at the Dee Events Center is played Nov. 29, 1977, with Weber State defeating Long Beach State 99-96 in overtime.
- Weber State’s first graduate program, the Master of Education, enrolls its first students in 1978. WSU now has 11 master’s programs.
- In 1979, Weber State changes its mascot from Waldo Wildcat to Primo Peacock. The change only lasts for one year.
- The 1980s sees more construction with the addition of the Wattis Business Building, Marriott Allied Health Building and physical education/recreation buildings.
- The student body doubles to more than 14,000.
- In 1982, students, faculty, administration and staff create the annual Crystal Crest Awards to honor outstanding members of the Weber State family who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, talent, leadership, achievement and instruction.
- A second graduate program, Master of Professional Accountancy, is added.
- The NUSAT 1, the world’s first university student-developed microsatellite that is carried aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1985, began as a WSU senior class project; a replica is now part of the Smithsonian collection.
- Weber State College officially becomes Weber State University on Jan. 1, 1991.
- Multiple student computer labs on WSU’s campus and online classes begin to make use of computer technology in the 1990s.
- In the 1990s, WSU’s men’s basketball team has two significant upset victories in March Madness. In 1995, as a No. 14 seed, the team defeats third-seeded Michigan State University with a score of 79-72. Four years later, again as a 14 seed, WSU’s men’s basketball team defeats No. 3 seed North Carolina University 76-74.
- In 1997, Weber State University Davis opens.
- Four new WSU master’s programs are added in the first decade of the 2000s, including the Master of Arts in English, Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Athletic Training and Master of Science in Nursing.
- A major renewal of the Ogden campus is launched in 2002. The Stewart Bell Tower Plaza is redesigned as the heart of campus, buildings 1 and 2 are replaced by Elizabeth Hall and several other buildings undergo renovations, including the Stewart Library, Lampros Hall, Shepherd Union Building and Swenson Gym. New buildings also include the Kimball Visual Arts Center and Hurst Center for Lifelong Learning.
- The Ethel Wattis Kimball Visual Arts Center, the first WSU building funded completely by private donations, is dedicated in May 2002.
- F. Ann Millner becomes WSU’s first female president in 2002. She serves for 10 years.
- In 2003, the first of 10 proposed buildings opens at WSU Davis.
- The Office of Undergraduate Research is established in 2004.
- WSU is home to Carnegie’s Utah Professor of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
- In 2006, WSU’s Dental Hygiene Clinic teams up with local dental professionals to participate in the Utah Give Kids a Smile charity organization. Annually, for one day in February, the clinic provides free dental services to children in need.
- In 2007, former Republican National Committee chair Richard Richards establishes the Richard Richards Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct at WSU to inspire ethical behavior and provide scholarships to students interested in politics.
- WSU opens its Community Involvement Center, now known as the Center for Community Engaged Learning, in 2007. The center provides curricular and co-curricular community engagement opportunities for students, faculty and staff in partnership with local community organizations.
- In 2008, WSU receives a Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Community Engagement classification, recognizing its dedication to the community.
- Lindsey Anderson became the first Wildcat to compete in the Summer Olympics when she runs in the steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.
- WSU’s Education, Access and Outreach office is created in 2008.
- In 2009, WSU joins the Presidents’ Climate Commitment by setting a goal to reach climate neutrality and reduce greenhouse gases by 2050.
- In 2009–2010, 78 percent of graduates from WSU’s Dumke Family Pre-Medical Program are accepted into medical schools, well above the 45 percent placement rate of pre-med programs nationwide.
- The Dream Weber program, providing free tuition to students with an annual household income of $25,000 or less, starts in 2010. The program now offers free tuition and general student fees to those with an annual household income of $40,000 or less.
- Total WSU enrollment exceeds 25,000 students, including more than 3,500 at WSU Davis and more than 7,000 on WSU Online.
- In 2010, WSU becomes the first university in Utah to offer a stand-alone Master of Taxation degree. WSU’s Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences and Master of Professional Communication degrees are created around the same time.
- In 2011, WSU receives an All-Steinway Schools designation for demonstrating a commitment to providing the best equipment possible for the study of music.
- In 2011, new student housing project Wildcat Village opens.
- Following the 2011–12 season, the Portland Trailblazers select Damian Lillard as the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Lillard becomes the first Wildcat drafted to the NBA in 27 years and the highest draft selection in WSU history.
- WSU hosts the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
- In 2012, Sierra Magazine ranks WSU as a “Cool School,” taking into consideration everything from “waging war on emissions to serving sustainable foods to teaching a verdant curriculum.”
- In 2012, WSU is recognized by Auntminnie.com for having the Best Radiological Technology Training Program in America.
- In 2013, Charles A. Wight becomes WSU president.
- On Oct. 1, 2013, the Ogden City Council, mayor of ogden, WSU president and WSU student body president sign the College Town Charter initiative, formalizing an ongoing partnership between the city and university.