Fall 1988, Volume 5.2
Weber Studies dedicates its volume 5, numbers 1 and 2, to Weber State College on the occasion of the institution's centennial. It is pleased to participate in the year-long process of celebrating the institution's past achievements and of honing its present resources in forging newer visions to meet the changing needs of its students in its second century.
FOCUS ON WEBER STATE COLLEGE--II
On 10 June 1988, Weber State College held its 100th annual commencement exercises and stepped into its second century.
In the presence of a packed audience of dignitaries and families in the 12,000-capacity Dee Events Center, Stephen D. Nadauld, President of Weber State College, inaugurated the year-long centennial celebrations of the college even as he awarded academic degrees to over 2,000 students.
This "celebration" comes in the wake of a severe tide of fiscal cutbacks for this state-funded institution. Utah, which is con- stitutionally bound to balance its budget, is going through a prolonged economic depression. Its prospects for industrial growth are currently bleak, its birth rate is inordinately high, and its funding in all sectors including education is dwindling. Every summer, there is an exodus of Utah's new college graduates in search of jobs elsewhere.
One would not be surprised if all these were to cast an abiding gloom on the campus. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Despite doubts and disheartenment, what is phenomenal on campus in these hard times is the coming of age of the pioneer spirit, imbued with not only the instinct for survival but also the determination to succeed and excel.
In the last twelve-month period, the college administration and faculty have met, debated, discussed, and approved a new College Mission Statement which will have far-reaching impact on future planning and programs. In reworking its stated mission, its goals, its programs, and its very philosophy of education in light of changing local and global demands--in short, in this process of evaluating its role and forging its own future--the college has emerged confidently with a vision of itself that promises to launch it beyond its own dreams in its pursuit of excellence.
Even since this harrowing self-evaluation process began, there have sprung, here and there in all its eight schools, "pockets of excellence," as President Nadauld proudly calls them. These include partnership with the private sector, writing across the curriculum programs, formal alliances with schoolteachers in an effort to strengthen elementary and secondary education, and development of excellent programs in the sciences as well as liberal arts.
As the college enters its second century, there is a concerted thrust to improve its image and enhance the quality of its programs. This is not to say that the campus lacked a good image or that its programs and graduates were not valued earlier--the institution's growth and achievements in its first 100 years have been nothing short of spectacular--but this is to emphasize the continuing effort of the college to be at the cutting edge of our times.
A unique dimension of the centennial "celebration" is the Centennial Gift Campaign, which, under the direction of community leader John Hinckley, has crossed the eight-million-dollar mark in its race to reach the target of 13.1 million. Such communal efforts will ensure the nurturance of the college's "pockets of excellence" in the context of subsistence-level state funding in the immediate future. They constitute the indomitable pioneer spirit on which both this state and the college were built.