OGDEN -- Weber State University President F. Ann Millner officiated her final commencement ceremony on Friday, congratulating nearly 1,450 students on their hard work and accomplishments, and ushering them into their own bright futures.
Earlier Friday, faculty, staff and supporters did the same for Millner, who steps down after a decade of service. New president Chuck Wight takes over the job Jan. 1.
"I haven't packed up my office yet," Millner said with a laugh. "I hope to get working on that next week."
Alan Hall, president of Weber State's Board of Trustees, said Millner will be missed.
"She's perhaps the most remarkable president the university has had, at least in this era," he said. "She's accomplished many great things. A lot of great things have happened at the university and in the community because of her leadership. She's been an amazing executive and a good friend."
Miller became WSU's 11th president -- and the first female president of a Utah university -- in 2002, after two decades teaching at Weber State. In March, she announced her plans to leave the office she always had planned to hold for about a decade.
"My career has been in decades," she said. "I had 10 years in continuing education and 10 years in advancement and community partnership, and now 10 years in the presidency."
Millner plans to spend the spring and summer at her home in St. George, designing courses to teach when she returns in fall 2013 in WSU's Dumke College of Health Professions.
"I plan to be here for a while," Millner said. "I don't know if it will be 10 years. I haven't set a goal yet, but I do want to find a way to get involved with the community and to continue to give back."
In Millner's decade of leadership:
* Weber State's enrollment increased nearly 48 percent, to 26,681 as of October.
* The number of academic areas in which master's degrees are offered increased from four to 11.
* Students taking courses online increased more than 43 percent, to 4,968 as of this fall.
* Enrollment at Weber State-Davis increased more than 42 percent, to 3,654 as of this fall.
New buildings include Weber State-Davis, Elizabeth Hall and Wildcat Village Buildings one and two. A second building at the Davis campus and a third Wildcat Village building are under construction. Renovation projects include Lampros Hall, the Ott Planetarium, the Stewart Library, the Swenson Building and the Shepherd Union.
And that's in addition to a long list of community outreach programs and economic development projects, along with annual capital campaigns.
Millner's influence has been far-reaching, said David L. Buhler, Utah's commissioner of higher education.
"What may not be as obvious to those who know her in Weber or Davis counties is that Ann has not only provided strong leadership for Weber State, but for all of higher education throughout the state of Utah as an influential member of our Council of Presidents," he said.
"It is no wonder that she has earned the much-deserved respect of governors, legislators, regents and trustees, her fellow college and university presidents, and the Commissioners with whom she has worked. I am deeply grateful for President Millner's many years of service to Weber State University and the Utah System of Higher Education, and am pleased that she will once again have the opportunity to impact the lives of students in the classroom."
Buhler said Millner led WSU during a period of key growth.
"The results of her leadership include greatly expanding student enrollment, development of the Davis Campus, and WSU Online. She has vigorously advanced Weber's dual mission -- with a community college and university role under one roof -- through her leadership at a national level among presidents at peer institutions."
Millner is happier sharing credit for positive changes at Weber State.
"Where the real magic happens is in the interaction between faculty and students, and in the learning," she said.
"I believe in the potential of this university, not only to achieve great things in teaching and learning, but in providing exceptional learning experiences, and to partner with this community to make it a batter place for all of us to live, work and play."