OGDEN -- Weber State University said Tuesday it will celebrate 125 years on Jan. 7, 2014, with parties, entertainment and the announcement of Dream 125 -- a $125 million fundraising campaign.
The university invites students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to wear purple to mark the occasion.
Festivities begin in the Shepherd Union Jan. 7 at 7:30 a.m. and culminate at 1:25 p.m. with a blast of confetti cannons, the drop of 12,500 balloons and a 125-square-foot cake decorated like a campus map -- complete with three-dimensional buildings.
"We only turn 125 once," said Charles Wight, WSU president. "We want a celebration worthy of an institution that has helped students reach their educational dreams and enrich themselves personally and professionally for a century and a quarter."
The $125 million fundraising campaign is planned to support students, faculty and facilities for the future.
"Community and donor support are essential for ensuring student success in the decades ahead," Wight said. "That's why we're embarking on 'Dream 125: The Campaign for Weber State.' We will combine WSU's strengths and aspirations with the generosity and vision of donors. This will allow the university to remain an invaluable asset to the local, national and global community."
To mark the anniversary, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 7, 125 musicians will perform on the Shepherd Union Atrium Stage, including WSU performing arts groups, the Alumni Singers and bluegrass entertainer Ryan Shupe.
A 1 p.m. ceremony will include Wight; David Wilson, student body president; and Andre Lortz, Alumni Relations Board of Directors president. Throughout the day, WSU clubs and organizations will have booths and prizes. Attendees will receive a commemorative pin and a slice of birthday cake.
In Layton, festivities at WSU Davis will culminate at 11:25 a.m. in the lobby of Building 3. Party guests will share in cake and balloons, and record birthday wishes that will be seen in the Shepherd Union later in the day.
At 5 p.m., the party goes to downtown Ogden for the grand opening of the Campus Store in the new Weber State Downtown building. The celebration will include free food, prizes, music and dancing. The first 125 guests will receive commemorative scarves. Across the street, Ogden City plans to fly 125 flags on the grounds of the Municipal Building.
In Farmington, the Davis County Commission on Tuesday approved a proclamation, written in purple ink, declaring Jan. 7, 2014 as "Weber State University Day" in Davis County.
More than 7,000 students from Davis County currently attend Weber.
WSU is an integral part of the county, in serving its residents, including many of those stationed at Hill Air Force Base who have an interest in furthering their education, Davis Commissioner John Petroff Jr. said.
And as a result, the commission is encouraging every one that day to wear purple in honor of the Ogden-based university.
But the school, as the commission pointed out on Tuesday, is now more than just an Ogden institution.
In 2001, the Utah Legislature approved funding for the design and construction of WSU-Davis campus in Layton, Petroff said. WSU broke ground on the new campus in 2002, and it opened in 2003.
Before the campus is complete, there is projected to be 10 buildings or more on that particular campus in serving 15,000 students there, Petroff said.
The university now serves more than 26,000 students primarily from Davis, Weber and Morgan counties in offering more than 225 degree programs consisting of associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees.
The school officially opened its doors as the Weber Stake Academy on Jan. 7, 1889.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.