Weber State College will stage the biggest party in its 101-year history Dec. 31 to herald a new year and a new name.

The "college" will become a "university" Jan. 1. To mark the occasion, more than 1,000 faculty, staff, students, alumni and community residents are expected to attend a dinner-dance in the Shepherd Union Building.At midnight, officials will unveil a new "University" sign at the main entrance to campus on Harrison Boulevard and touch off a fireworks display nearby.

"We've been waiting for this occasion for a long time," said Edie George, executive director of Alumni Relations.

Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Dancing to music from several eras in Weber State's history will follow at 8:30 p.m.

George said partygoers will be able to go bowling, watch movies, sample pastries and purchase commemorative mugs and sweatshirts. They will also receive free candy and flowers.

Entertainment will be provided by pianist Kevin Mathies, the Vocal Chords singing ensemble and two bands - RunAway and The DeSotos.

"This is more than just a New Year's Eve party," George said. "This is an inauguration ceremony - the inauguration of a university."

Weber State became a college in 1963. Last February, Gov. Norm Bangerter signed a bill granting university status to Weber State.

George said the New Year's Eve party is open to the public. Tickets for dinner, dancing and fireworks cost $10 per person for a hamburger meal and $20 for a chicken-buffet meal. Tickets will be sold at the Dee Events Center through Dec. 21.

Admission for dancing and entertainment only is $5 per person. Tickets will go on sale at 9 p.m. New Year's Eve at the Shepherd Union Building.