Mountain overlooking Weber State will be home to permanent ‘Flaming W’

OGDEN, Utah — For 45 years, Weber State University has been lighting an electric W on Mount Ogden during homecoming week. Now, the university plans to build a permanent solar-powered version.

Situated on a slope above the Ogden campus, the new “Flaming W” — a reference to the stylized W within the university shield — will be constructed with solar panels. The W will light up with purple and white bulbs to celebrate special WSU occasions such as homecoming, commencement, Founders Day on Jan. 7, and athletic home wins. 

“There have long been attempts to put a permanent W on the mountainside,” said WSU President Brad Mortensen. “The temporary one has been a source of pride for our Wildcats and the community, and the new one will only amplify that school spirit.” 

Mortensen also noted that the permanent W is true to the university’s commitment to sustainability. “Not only are we modernizing a tradition at Weber, but it’s also going to contribute electricity back to the grid,” he said. 

Campus at night, overlooked by an electric W on the mountainsideThe mountainside W has come and gone throughout Weber State history, since the first literal “flaming” W was ignited in 1937 with 100 cans of kerosene. The safer, electric W became an annual homecoming tradition thanks to J. Farrell Shepherd and university electrician Lynn Kraaima, who established a process in 1979. 

Construction on the permanent fixture is expected to begin this summer. 

Although the majority of funding has been secured, the university is raising the remaining $500,000 to light the W in time for WSU Homecoming 2024 in October. Those interested in supporting the project can donate at


Marketing & Communications staff


Bryan Magaña, public relations director