The big job of changing Weber State from a college to a university is almost complete.

Workmen have installed a new "Weber State University" sign at the main entrance to campus. The sign probably will be the most prominent symbol of Weber State's elevated status.Passers-by won't see the sign until New Year's Day. That's when, under law, Weber State can officially claim the university title. Campus administrators will keep the sign under wraps until an unveiling ceremony at midnight Dec. 31.

For several months, Weber State employees and outside contractors have been working on a variety of projects designed to create "The New U," as Weber State is called by many students and faculty.

Printers have produced some 70,000 pieces of stationery, 120,000 envelopes and 100,000 business cards that carry the new name. They have used 50 percent more ink than usual and consumed 3 miles of gold foil for embossing printed materials.

The art services department has turned out more than 10,000 silk-screen T-shirts and 3,000 name tags reflecting the name change. Gross business revenues for that department jumped from its usual $9,000 a year to $16,000 during October alone because of the change.

Meanwhile, the bookstore is stocking up on mugs, pennants and bumper stickers. And personnel representatives are taking photos of faculty and staff members for new identification cards.

"We've tried to get everything changed by the end of the year," said William C. Loos, vice president of college advancement. "We want to send a loud-and-clear message that we are now a university."

Weber State will stage the biggest party in its 101-year history Dec. 31 to herald the name change. 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, when officials unveil the new "University" sign, they will also touch off a fireworks display nearby.

Eleven days later, Weber State will inaugurate Paul H. Thompson as its first president under the "university" banner. Thompson said he considers the ceremony an "inauguration of the university" as well as his own inaugural.

Weber State was founded in 1889 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It became a state institution, known as Weber College, in 1933. For the past 28 years, it has been called Weber State College.