Charles Wight's legacy — a stronger WSU and a better community

Friday , April 13, 2018 - 4:30 AM

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

Thanks, Charles Wight. You left Weber State University stronger than you found it.

And that makes Northern Utah stronger, too.

Wight became president of Weber State a little more than five years ago. He leaves June 30 to become president of Maryland’s Salisbury University.

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Under his leadership, WSU enrollment reached nearly 28,000 in the fall of 2017 — a university record.

He oversaw a building boom, including construction of the Tracy Hall Science Center on the Ogden campus, as well as a professional programs classroom building on the Davis Campus.

WSU also renovated the Stewart Library, broke ground for the Ezekiel R. & Katherine W. Dumke Center for Interprofessional Education in Health Care, and secured $5 million from Ogden businessman John Lindquist to begin transforming the old Social Science building.

But it was the connections he built, the opportunities he created that will become his greatest legacy.

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Wight expanded the school’s Dream Weber program to provide free tuition for low-income students. He also led the Dream 125 Campaign, which raised nearly $165 million for scholarships endowed professorships and faculty development.

He fought to ensure that Weber welcomed all students, adding a chief diversity officer and assistant vice president for diversity to the school’s administration. When President Trump signed his first Muslim travel ban in January 2017, Wight urged him to “reopen our country’s doors to the many international visitors and refugees who help make our nation and university great.”

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Perhaps most important of all, he started a college-town relationship that cemented the school’s bond with Ogden — a visionary project that includes construction of a WSU Community Outreach Center near the heart of the city.

Wight understood that by establishing the school as vital part of Ogden, he could encourage more students to enroll at Weber State — and in turn, every time a student completed a degree, Ogden would become more vibrant intellectually, culturally and economically.

That is is legacy.

Charles Wight spent five years building not just a better university, but a stronger community. We are grateful for his service.

A FOND FAREWELL

You can say goodbye to Charles Wight at a social from 2:30 to 5 p.m. today, April 13, at the Stewart Bell Tower Plaza, Weber State University. Remarks are scheduled at 3 p.m.

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