Weber State University has a tradition of engaging in bizarre activities. By the time they graduate, some students are shocked by facts they have learned about the university, ranging from the Polygamist Prance of 1944 to Weber College moving from downtown 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard in 1954.
“I was surprised to find out that in 1979, Weber State changed the mascot to the Primo Peacock,” said Lauren Nelson, a WSU student set to graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology. “I’m happy that we changed it back after a year, because I would not want to be a Weber peacock.”
Nelson works in the admissions office as a student ambassador.
“Also, I was shocked to find out by a faculty member that a person had died in the union building,” she said, “I believe from a shooting.”
According to Jennifer King’s article in The Signpost, on July 8, 1993, Mark Duong opened fired in Room 352 of the Shepherd Union Building.
“Duong, 28, of Ogden, opened fire with a handgun during the grievance hearing in the Shepherd Union Building,” King wrote.
The authorities had surmised the motive as a “love relationship gone awry.” Three people were wounded, and one man, the shooter, died.
“I think the most surprising thing for me was the honors department at Weber,” said Matthew Glover, the honors and BIS student senator. “The honors department offers a bunch of different classes, and they combine different areas of study together, so I took one class on physics, but we were reading plays about learning physics through the plays. Another class, we studied about dominant religions using Bollywood films, so it was really cool to have this interdisciplinary study, and it just made my education a lot better.”
Glover will graduate with honors in political science.
Kris Parham, a transfer student from Ventura College in California, will graduate with Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree.
“I didn’t know how heavily pushed the Mormon church was in Utah,” Parham said. “I mean, I was sitting down, minding my own business, when this lady comes up to me telling me that Jesus didn’t wear earrings. She then asked me if I ever heard of the Book of Mormon, and I just walked away.”
WSU was first founded as Weber Stake Academy in 1889 by eight founding fathers, including Louis Frederick Moench, a German immigrant who later converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became the first principal of the academy.
Claudia Andrade from Mexico enrolled in a program called Student-to-Student Outreach that helped her register and set up an account to enroll in WSU.
“When I entered college, I thought only students from high school — you know, young people — came to college,” Andrade said. “But I have seen people from all ages. I have a very good friend, and she’s about 65 years old, and she graduated last year. I think it’s really amazing that there are a lot of people from all ages, from all countries.”
Andrade, who is graduating in design engineering technology, said she was surprised that WSU would help students get internships.
“I got help from the whole staff in my department,” Andrade said. “Also, they helped me get my first scholarship.”
During the Great Depression in the ’30s, some students paid their tuition by trading goods, such as beef, apples and other commodities. This time period also brought to the university the Kissable Lips Contest.
Richard W. Sadler explained in his book “Weber State College: A Centennial History,” that “some of the of the activities brought unwanted publicity, such as the ‘Kissable Lips Contest’, where girls stood behind a bed sheet with only their lips showing through a hole in the sheet. They were competing to be judged as ‘most kissable.'”