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Weber State cuts ribbon on Noorda engineering building

WSU opened the state-of-the-art Noorda Engineering, Applied Science & Technology Building in 2022, thanks to funding from the State of Utah and a generous gift from the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation. Designed by VCBO Architecture, the building boasts over 138,000 square feet, containing 15 engineering labs, 14 classrooms and nine computer labs. It’s home to Ogden’s Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science and contains eight high school classrooms and lab spaces. WSU salvaged over 15,000 square feet of the Technical Education Building that once stood on the site to create the nearby Noorda High Bay Building, housing the college’s Concept Center and National Center for Automotive Service & Technology.

Making National Headlines


number of news stories nationwide that reported on grandmagreat

$1.8 million

estimated value of Sharon Barber’s national media coverage

Grandma Great

An Outstanding Senior

Judging by her TikTok following, Sharon Barber may be the most popular student at Weber State. The 79-year-old TikTok sensation, known as “grandmagreat,” has more than 2.5 million followers. Barber shares inspirational messages with all her “TikTok grandchildren,” concluding each installment with her signature line, “I love you.”

CBS Evening News featured Barber on its broadcast in March 2023.

“Just do your best,” said Barber, who plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in creative writing. “That’s all. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”

Damian Lillard

Still No. 1

One of WSU’s most famous alumni reminded the sports world he will always bleed purple. Six-time NBA all-star and 2015 WSU graduate Damian Lillard returned to Utah for the 2023 NBA All-Star game, held in Salt Lake City. The Milwaukee Bucks point guard honored his Weber State roots by wearing a Wildcat jersey en route to winning the 3-point contest. Then “Dame” followed up by scoring the game-winning shot in the All-Star Game, proving, yet again, why he’s still “No. 1” in the hearts of Wildcat fans.

Chatting up Chat GPT

Chatting up ChatGPT

Amidst discussion surrounding AI technology, Weber State professional sales associate professor Alex Lawrence says higher education should embrace ChatGPT rather than shun it. Lawrence shared that message in the Wall Street Journal in January 2023, which led to national media opportunities with a variety of outlets, from CNN to Morning in America.

Tuition-free training for military spouses


students enrolled as of summer 2023

Weber State is helping military spouses gain skills for exciting careers. Started in January 2023 and named after Rosie the Riveter — the namesake of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers during World War II — the Rosie Project provides tuition-free classes and childcare to military spouses. Students earn industry-recognized certifications that prepare them for employment with Hill Air Force Base and the Department of Defense. Those interested can find more information at

Wildcat MicroFund set to expand statewide

$1.2 million

for Weber State’s Wildcat MicroFund from America First Credit Union

Weber State’s Wildcat MicroFund received a $1.2 million gift from America First Credit Union to help expand services throughout Utah. Housed in the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics, the MicroFund offers cash grants of up to $3,000, plus networking opportunities, for WSU students and local entrepreneurs. Since 2018, it has awarded over 300 grants to businesses in industries such as construction, education, tourism and more. 

Ogden local Tania Rodriguez received enough money to afford a new food truck for Los Churros del Norte, which serves buñuelos and other Mexican food.


$1 million

provided by Intermountain Health to help increase enrollment and develop future programs

Weber State receives vital funding from Intermountain Health

Intermountain Health provided over $1 million to help increase enrollment and develop future health professions programs. The funds support Weber State’s new physician assistant program, the Diversity in Healthcare scholarship program, and Ogden Civic Action Network (OgdenCAN). 

“Weber State truly benefits from having such a strong partnership with Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital,” said Yasmen Simonian, dean of the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions. “They’ve helped us secure the best equipment and space, which allows us to provide hands-on education to our students so they’re confident and ready to join the healthcare workforce when they graduate.”

$2.78 million

grant from the Department of Education for an ESL teacher training program

Historic grant supports English language learners

Weber State received a $2.78 million grant from the Department of Education for a teacher training program to help students who are not native English speakers thrive in school.

Professors Melina Alexander, David Byrd and Shernavaz Vakil in the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education are leading the professional development efforts for teachers and administrators in public and charter schools throughout Utah.

The five-year grant will support up to 100 teachers and administrators. The first cohort of 25 educators started coursework during summer 2023.

Byrd said a significant achievement gap exists between English language learners, or ELLs, and their native-speaking peers. 

“This grant aims to help Utah teachers provide ELLs the best possible foundation for educational success,” he said. 

WSU students advise Ogden City on OGX plans

Weber State’s spring 2023 Advanced Urban Planning class studied the potential impact of four bus stations set to open along the new Ogden bus rapid transit line, named Ogden Express (OGX).

The class worked with the Utah Transit Authority to study stops along Harrison Boulevard at 25th, 28th, 32nd and 36th streets to determine what Ogden City should consider regarding access to opportunities, environmental conditions, affordable housing and transportation choices around the bus line.

Construction of the OGX allowed students to learn how to work as a team on a development project, said Bryan Dorsey, WSU’s Urban and Regional Planning Program coordinator. He added that the class regularly offers opportunities to work on real-world projects.

Reducing speed, adding traffic calming circles and a pedestrian bridge on Harrison Boulevard between 37th and 24th Streets were among the class’s suggestions.

The first leg of the OGX opened on the Weber State campus in fall 2022. The full route from Ogden’s FrontRunner station on Wall Avenue to McKay-Dee Hospital opened in August 2023.

Walker Institute helps keep elections free and fair

“All elections shall be free, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage …”

— Article I, Section 17, Constitution of the State of Utah

The Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service VOTE Certification trains election officials to uphold Utah’s constitution through free and fair elections.

During the 2022–23 academic year, the institute hosted dozens of election officials from across the state at three sessions to learn how to properly run elections.

“The United States depends on elections as the foundation of the republic,” said Leah Murray, Walker Institute director. “We exist the way we do because we have elections.”

The institute has partnered with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the Utah State Legislature and national leaders for the certification since June 2021.

Ethics bowl at the Utah State Correctional Facility

While Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competitions place college students in ethical debates, the lessons they teach can also apply to those outside of higher education.

Recognizing an opportunity to teach students outside the university setting, Richard Greene, Weber State philosophy professor, and his wife, Rachel Robison-Greene, Utah State University philosophy assistant professor, volunteered to teach an ethics bowl course for female inmates at the Utah State Correctional Facility three years ago. The first course ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the instructors restarted it for the spring 2023 semester.

As part of the University of Utah’s Prison Education Project, it ran eight weeks and ended with a competition against WSU and Utah State teams. The incarcerated students defeated the Utah State team in a unanimous decision, and lost to Weber State in a 2-1 decision. 

The inmates enjoyed the course, and instructors plan to hold it again next spring.

Lighting the way

Lighting the Way to Weber State

Weber State’s Ogden campus has new lighted entryways on Harrison Boulevard. The lighted gateway columns were designed by VCBO Architects and built by YESCO in spring 2023. The statuesque, angular pieces stand out with prominent WSU logos, light features and stone bases at the 3950 South and 3850 South entrances. A similar project will be installed at WSU Davis in fall 2023.

An App for Saving Lives

Weber and Morgan counties have a new tool to save cardiac arrest patients. 

Bill Robertson, associate professor of emergency healthcare, partnered with Ogden City Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Slater to bring the PulsePoint mobile app to the communities in spring 2023. 

During a cardiac arrest, the app notifies emergency responders and nearby CPR-trained volunteers who can provide life-saving care until emergency responders arrive. The app also gives volunteers the location of nearby defibrillators. Robertson, along with the Dean’s Office of the Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions and others from the college, helped secure funds and training to launch the project.

Keeping Utah’s workplaces safe


ongoing funds from the Utah Legislature to support a new bachelor’s degree and graduate certificate

This fall, Weber State will welcome the first cohorts for a new bachelor’s degree in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety, and a graduate certificate in occupational health nursing. 

The two fields of study are part of an innovative collaboration between Weber State, the University of Utah, and the Rocky Mountain Center for Environmental and Occupational Health. 

The Utah Legislature funded the partnership during the 2022 and 2023 sessions.

Number one in blood donations


units of blood collected during the year

American Red Cross representatives honored Weber State in June 2023 as the organization’s single largest blood sponsor covering Box Elder and Weber counties in 2022.

Student volunteer preps the meals he once relied on

Kofi Herrick recalls relying on packaged meals, called MannaPacks, every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner while growing up in a Ghanaian orphanage. 

He was adopted by a family in Utah at age 14. Now, almost a decade later, he’s a member of Weber State’s soccer club and majors in child and family studies. But he hasn’t forgotten hungry kids around the world rely on the same MannaPacks. 

Herrick recently helped coordinate a service project, where he and fellow students put together more than 100,000 MannaPacks. The meals they packaged are estimated to feed about 300 people for an entire year.