Dr. Wight’s Biography
Wight served since 2013 as president of Weber State University (WSU) in Ogden, UT. At Weber State, he pursued five priorities: college affordability, diversity and inclusion, maintaining a beautiful and sustainable campus, improving student success, and building mutually positive relationships with the community.
During his five years as Weber State’s president, the university achieved significant progress. Wight led a $164 million fundraising campaign that exceeded the original goal by $39 million. Need-based financial aid was expanded to make the university more accessible to students from modest means. He created the school’s first LGBT Resource Center, named its first chief diversity officer and opened a Community Education Center in downtown Ogden to guide students of color through the application and financial aid processes.
The campus also expanded under Wight’s leadership. Student enrollment grew by 5.3%, while more than $150 million in state, private and institutional funding supported the construction or renovation of eight new buildings for science, business, social science, library, student recreation and residence, health and engineering. And under his guidance, Weber State boasts the fastest growing computer science and engineering programs in Utah.
Despite this growth, Weber State’s campus became more sustainable during Wight’s tenure through the implementation of conservation programs that save $2 million per year on fuel, power and water.
A professor of chemistry and an expert in chemical explosions, Wight demonstrated his commitment to undergraduate education by teaching an Honors General Chemistry course every spring semester. He is also known for conducting science demonstrations at campus events.
The son of two teachers and raised in Northern Virginia, Wight earned his B.S. in chemistry at the University of Virginia in 1977 and his Ph.D. at Caltech in 1982. Following two years as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Colorado, he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Utah in 1984, rising to associate professor in 1990 and professor in 1993.
Between 1999 and 2012, Wight took on a host of administrative and leadership roles at the University of Utah, including stints as president of the Academic Senate, academic coordinator of web-based instruction, associate dean of undergraduate instruction, assistant vice president of continuing education and associate vice president of academic affairs. From 2009 to 2012, he served as dean of the Graduate School.
Wight’s research interests focus on physical chemistry, the chemistry of explosives and propellants, and the kinetics of solid state reactions and thermal analysis. He has also been deeply involved in the development of online learning tools for general chemistry and college readiness in mathematics.
Wight is the author or co-author of more than 170 academic papers. He has continued his research throughout his time as an administrator, contributing to seven papers published in academic journals during his time as Weber State’s president.
Wight is married to Victoria Rasmussen and is the father of three grown daughters. In his free time, he enjoys learning to play golf, hiking trails, going to the beach and piloting small aircraft.