Gina Naisbitt

Administrative Associate, EAST Dean’s Office
2002 - Present

I was recruited into the office of the Dean of the College of Applied, Science & Technology (COAST) in 2002 by my predecessor, Ginger Hauser.  She was a fiery, no-nonsense redhead who lived and breathed her position.  Maybe the reason she recruited me is that I am also a redhead.  I was happy and content working in the Professional Sales department and was reluctant to leave my comfortable environment.  Surrounded by iconic professors like Dan Litchford, Carl Grunander, Steven Eichmeier and Desiree Cooper-Larsen, it was definitely a hard decision to make.  The thought of going from my comfortable environment to go work for an engineer, a Dean engineer, was slightly intimidating.  Alas, one cannot turn down an opportunity to grow, so I accepted the position.
Dean Warren Hill was not your stereotypical engineer, or dean for that matter.  Warren had strong opinions, was well-known and respected across campus, was quick-witted and had a wicked sense of humor.  Warren had a large file folder in his office which was filled with jokes.  Every day I would be greeted with a new joke of the day, some rather colorful! 

While working for Dean Warren Hill, one thing he would frequently do when traveling was to call me from the airport to check in.  It became the joke between us that he had a sensor on my chair and knew when I got up because that is when he would always call.  He always gave me a nice Dillard’s gift certificate every year for Christmas, so the joke went on further to be “Are you at Dillard’s again?”  This routine of ours continued even after Warren retired...and for many years!! He would call me from the airport, as he would say, “just for old time’s sake”.  

dean warrel hill dress as the grinch

Warren was also a very good sport and for many years agreed to dress up in a variety of costumes from the Grinch, to Santa, to an Elf for our annual Christmas party. Warren wasn’t afraid of being the center of attention and loved getting a good laugh. 

One year after a college event, all of the admins gathered around him and took a funny photo, Warren loving every minute.

One thing I would say about working for Warren is that he taught me a great deal.  I am the administrative associate I am today because of the knowledge he shared with me.  The sign of a good boss is one who shares his knowledge with you and Warren was a good boss.  I will always think fondly of the time we worked together.

One year we needed to share our office space with a new faculty member.  He was new to Utah and Weber State and during the summer months he would bring his little one year old daughter, Stella, to the office.  Occasionally while in the office, he would ask me to watch her quickly while he ran down the hall.  He eventually moved to his permanent home in another building and one day several years later, he would become the new dean! Once again we were sharing the office together.

Working for Dean Ferro has been a fun experience. It was now my turn to impart some of my knowledge of the college to our newest dean. Dean Ferro thinks very highly of the faculty and staff within the college, now called the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology (EAST).  He is a hands-on dean, involved in every aspect of the college.  He has a fun sense of humor and is often seen out and about with faculty and students.  Here he is seen riding one of our student’s senior projects, “commode-to-go.”

david ferro riding a student senior project

Dean Ferro is down-to-earth and relatable and speaks candidly and with a delightful dry humor.  He has delighted and entertained many a graduating class.

Dean Ferro worked tirelessly to see the completion of a much-needed Computer & Automotive Engineering building at the Davis Campus which houses our Automotive and Computer Science programs.
The Dean was also front and center during the demolition of the Technical Education Building. Old things must fade away in order to make room for the new and improved.

Dean Ferro was also instrumental, along with Development Director, Kelly Stackaruk, in securing the funding for the new Noorda Engineering, Applied Science & Technology building.  This is the direct result of his vision for the future of our great college and the industry partners surrounding us.  The positive impact for students and industry alike will be felt for many decades ahead.   

Dean Ferro had unique challenges to face during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Always quick and forward-thinking, he creatively sought out alternative arrangements to keep our faculty, staff, and students moving forward, albeit safely.

It was a sudden and tragic loss for the college when one of our beloved colleagues, Desiree Cooper-Larsen succumbed to complications of Covid-19.  Desiree was larger than life within the Weber State Community and also within the Ogden Pioneer Days community.  Desiree had over 25 years of experience as a professor at WSU and received the Utah Association of Marketing Educators Teacher of the Year twice during her tenure here. WSU has established a scholarship endowment fund in her name and a conference room in the new NOORDA building will be named after her and will feature a portrait of her.

Desiree Cooper-Larsen