BY TOM BUSSELBERG
Congratulations, Weber State University!
It has reached the lofty age of 125, the date actually coming last Tuesday.
This institution, possibly more than any other university, has had a profound influence on Davis County. More than ever, that continues to this day.
It was nearly 10 1/2 years ago that the first formal Weber State Davis campus opened its doors. Quickly, the one building was filled to capacity on a regular basis, drawing more than 3,000 students to day and evening classes.
This past August, a second instructional building was opened. It brought more of a campus feel to the Layton site, including a small student union area with cafeteria, ballroom, exercise area, and more.
Davis County residents have embraced Weber State, both at the Layton campus and the main location on Ogden’s east bench.
In fact, a higher percentage of students attend the university from Davis County than Weber County.
That further demonstrates how far the school has come from its beginnings as the old Weber Stake Academy, part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ old network of high schools.
By 1918, the school added a college component, still operating under Mormon Church direction, from a campus near downtown Ogden. By 1933, it was transformed into a state institution.
In those early days, Davis County was mostly farms and small towns. Bountiful had only a few thousand residents, as did Layton.
With World War II and the opening of Hill AFB just a couple of years earlier, Davis County’s population started to grow dramatically.
Evening classes were started at Davis High and other county high schools decades ago. Then the old Questar Building in Layton was obtained as a campus center.
There was a concerted push, however, for Davis County to get a college or university of its own.
Due to concerns over cost and other factors related to starting a whole new higher education entity, it was decided to align with Weber State.
Former WSU vice president and then president F. Ann Millner was among those who worked hard to bring a bigger physical footprint to Davis County.
Former state senator Haven Barlow championed the cause, as well, along with many other folks in the county.
For many years, Bruce Davis has been a strong guiding force of the “new” Weber State Davis campus. He is a bundle of enthusiasm, and has unleashed that in helping create a vibrant, growing local campus.
Part of that bustle has come from the partnership with Hill AFB. Hundreds of airmen and others from the base regularly take classes to complete their certifications and more.
NUAMES, (the Northern Utah Academy of Math, Education and Science), partners with the campus. It uses WSU classrooms and other facilities during the day. It allows the academy students strong interaction with a university setting, including giving them an opportunity to complete university-level courses while still in high school.
Beyond that, the community and Weber State Davis are strong partners. For example, the campus regularly hosts events, such as for Davis Chamber of Commerce seminars.
WSU Davis is another academic star in Davis County, offering a wide array of courses geared to today’s workforce needs.
Here’s to another 125 years.