Dixie State University
|Established||September 19, 1911|
|President||Richard Biff Williams|
|Location||St. George, Utah, United States
main campus: 100.11 acres, campus off-site property: 97.1 acres, total campus: 200.99 acres
|Colors||Red, Blue, Gray, White |
|Mascot||Brooks the Bison|
Dixie State University (also referred to as DSU or, colloquially, Dixie) is a public comprehensive university located in St. George, Utah. The university offers 31 bachelor's degrees, 17 associate's degrees, 27 minors, and 14 certificates/endorsements. As of Fall 2015, there are 8,503 students enrolled at DSU, and the university has a 100% acceptance rate. The student body is 53% female and 47% male, and DSU is in the top three for diversity in the state of Utah, with 22.3% of the student body being minority students.
The institution was originally founded as St. George Stake Academy, in 1911, by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), but it is now part of the Utah System of Higher Education. In February, 2013, the former Dixie State College (DSC), as it had been known since 2000, officially became Dixie State University.
DSU's 15 athletic teams compete in Division II of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Dixie State University Trailblazers. The Trailblazers football team joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2016, and the Women's Swimming team competes in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference, but DSU's 13 other teams belong to the PacWest Conference.
The institution was founded by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) on September 19, 1911, as St. George Stake Academy. In 1916, the academy, located in a region called "Utah's Dixie" by Brigham Young and local settlers, became Dixie Normal College, and then in 1923 the name was changed to Dixie Junior College. In 1933, the LDS Church discontinued its support of the college, and the local citizenry had to maintain the school until Utah began supporting it as part of the state's higher education system in 1935.
In 1952, the institution's sports teams adopted the "Rebel" name. In 1956 the institution adopted a caricature of a Confederate soldier as the official mascot. Starting in 1960, the Confederate flag was flown along with the American flag at official ceremonies. In 1961, the institution's sports teams began wearing the Confederate flag on their uniforms. In 1963, the institution's yearbook changed names to The Confederate. In 1963, the institution built and dedicated the Shiloh dorms. Between 1963 and 1993, the institution increased their Confederate identity: parade floats adopted themes from the Old South, students appeared in black face and Confederate costumes, horseman carried the Confederate flag at school events; mock slave auctions were held, and the yearbook staff depicted a scalping with someone dressed as a Native American and another person hanging from a tree.
In 1970, the school became Dixie College. In 1987 "the Rebels," a large bronze statue of soldiers with a Confederate flag was placed on campus. In 1993, the institution said it was officially ceasing the use of the Confederate flag as a school symbol and created a new "stars and bars." In 2000 it became Dixie State College of Utah when the Utah State Legislature authorized the college to offer baccalaureate degrees. When the school first opened its doors, there were only 42 students. In 2000 when the college became a four-year college, enrollment had reached approximately 7,000 students.
On September 7, 2007, Dixie State College Board of Trustees members announced that Dixie State College of Utah would petition the University of Utah to become the University of Utah–St. George. The proposal was approved by the Dixie State College Board of Trustees on October 7, 2007, and by the University of Utah Board of Trustees on October 14, 2007; however, this did not come to fruition.
The institution contracted with a local advertising firm, Sorenson Advertising, to investigate names for the institution as a university and found that alumni overwhelmingly supported the name "Dixie" while less than half of faculty/staff supported the name "Dixie" (p. 48).
In 2013, the Utah Legislature changed the status of the institution from a college to a university and named it Dixie State University. Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law in a ceremony on campus, calling the new university into existence on February 16, 2013. President Stephen Nadauld of Dixie State University and others recognized this step as the fulfillment of the dream of the original Mormon pioneers of the area to have a university for their communities.
Also in 2013 the Board of Trustees approved a student driven proposed campus-wide tobacco ban. The ban prohibits all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. The ban went into effect on January 1, 2014.
The primary campus of Dixie State University is located in St. George, Utah, with the Hurricane Education Center campus extension located in Hurricane, Utah.
The University offers over 150 academic programs.
Dixie State University provides an opportunity for students to participate in its Student Association (DSUSA). DSUSA is a federated student administrative body overseeing the functions, funding, and promotion of official student organizations. Executive and legislative power is primarily vested in an elected Executive Council, the President's Cabinet, and the Student Senate. Student clubs interact with the DSUSA governing bodies primarily through non-elected Club Representatives. Club Representatives work on behalf of the following organizational categories: Academic Clubs, Student Organizations, Non-Traditional Clubs, Multicultural and Diversity Clubs, Health Science Clubs, and Athletic and Recreation Clubs. All Executive Council members and most Managers receive some sort of financial aid in return for their work.
Various responsibilities fall to DSUSA including the planning of most on-campus events, charity and service work, and relations between university students and the school's faculty and surrounding community. Any student is able to apply for any position in DSUSA, and if chosen is asked to maintain good academic and community standing, while abiding by the University's other rules and bylaws.
Student organizations are required to report detailed records of all of their activities and members through the use of the OrgSync online community management system, faculty supervision at all meetings, and mandatory bi-weekly meetings of club presidents with the DSUSA Inter Club Council (ICC). Failure to regularly share detailed information with DSUSA and the ICC can result in funding being severed and clubs being disbanded. Failure of faculty advisors to attend and supervise all club activities is a violation of DSU policy and may result in swift disciplinary action against the student organization.
Dixie State University competes in NCAA Division II as a full member of the Pacific West Conference, football-only member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and swimming-only member of the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference beginning in fall 2016. The teams are collective known as the Dixie State University Trailblazers – an identity which was unveiled on April 11, 2016.
The Trailblazers’ mascot is Brooks the Bison, who made his first appearance on Sept. 1, 2016, during half-time at the Fall 2016 football season-opener against New Mexico Highlands in Legend Solar Stadium. The football team went on to win that game, marking its first season-opening win since Aug., 2009.
The mascot is named after the first student in the institution’s history, Samuel Brooks, who slept on the steps outside what was then St. George Stake Academy to be the first to pay the $10 tuition the next morning. The descended family of Samuel Brooks sat in the stands and was recognized when Brooks first arrived in the stadium.
The DSU student section is called “The Stampede” and is run by the Dixie State University Student Association.
The Trailblazers football and soccer teams play in Legend Solar Stadium, formerly known as Hansen Stadium. On April 29, 2016, Legend Solar announced it would donate $10 million dollars in cash and trade toward the renovation of DSU’s stadium. The planned renovation includes the construction of an east grandstand; an addition to the top of the west grandstand for banquet rooms, executive boxes, and new press box; and the installation of solar panels and a 1,500 kilowatt system in the stadium and throughout the DSU campus. The west grandstand is now named “Hansen Grandstand" in honor of the George T. Hansen family, who funded the construction of the stadium in the 1980s and who support the renaming and renovation of Legend Solar Stadium.
The Trailblazers basketball teams play in the Burns Arena, named after Dixie alumnus and donor M. Anthony Burns.
DSU Women’s Volleyball plays in the Old Gym, located in the Student Activities Center.
Raging Red Show Choir
The Raging Red Show Choir is a goodwill and showcase performance group composed of students that was started in January 2009. Raging Red has performed throughout Utah, in parts of Nevada and Arizona, and performed at the 2010 World's Fair in China. The group is directed by Merilee Webb and performs a variety of different styles of music, including hip-hop, spiritual, and Broadway, and stages scenes from popular films and television programs.
For the 2010 World's Fair, its program included the song "Belle" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, "For Good" from the Broadway production of Wicked, a medley of Muppet music and skits from The Muppets and Sesame Street, as well as a dance mix of seventies classics. Each song includes solo performances by members of the choir and almost always require improvisation at some point.
Merilee Webb has a Master's in Music Education from Brigham Young University, where she was selected "Most Outstanding Musician" in 1983, and teaches in Salt Lake City and St. George. Webb has served as Associate Director for "Young Americans," where she met Raging Red's then-future choreographer, Mackenzie Koehler, a student at the time.
Dixie State University Box Office is located in the Cox Auditorium (aka the Avenna Center) in between Tennis Courts and the Smiths Computer Center. The Box Office is the main ticketing center for events on campus including sports, music, theater, and dance. Although the main office for the Box Office is in the Cox Auditorium there are offices in various buildings:
- Cox Auditorium: Celebrity Concert Series, Concerts, Dance, Choir, Dixie's Got Talent, Music
- Eccles Black Box: Theater
- Eccles Main Stage: Theater, Dance
- Eccles Concert Hall: Choir, Band
- Hansen Stadium (East and West sides of the stadium): Soccer, Football, Outdoor concerts, Senior Games
- Cooper Field: Softball
- Burns Arena (East and West sides of the gym): Basketball, Concerts
- Gymnasium (aka Old Gym): Volleyball
Since gaining university status in February 2013, Dixie has been involved in multiple controversies.
In 2013, Dixie State University student Indigo Klabanoff attempted to form a sorority called Phi Beta Phi but was told by administrators that the use of Greek letters in the name was prohibited because the university did not want to give the public impression that it was a "party school."
In December 2014, tenured theater professor Varlo Davenport was placed on a short-term administrative leave as university faculty and officials investigated a student complaint that was filed against Davenport. The complaint stemmed from the use of standard physical resistance techniques used by Davenport in an acting course on November 21, 2014. After a thorough investigation including multiple eye-witness testimonies, a Faculty Review Board (FRB) absolved Davenport of any wrongdoing and recommended his immediate reinstatement.\ President Williams rejected the FRB decision and upheld Davenport's termination.
Three students filed a federal lawsuit on March 4, 2015 against Dixie State University alleging the university violated their free speech rights by refusing to let them post fliers with satirical images of former President George W. Bush and revolutionary leader Che Guevara. While awaiting settlement of the lawsuit, President Williams announced in May, 2015 that all campus policies that infringed upon free expression and speech would be temporarily rescinded as new directives were being drafted. President Williams upset many research-oriented faculty members with his campus-wide announcement proclaiming that a university should be a place where "seemingly absurd ideas... are not only permitted, but even encouraged." On September 17, 2015 the three plaintiffs involved in the free speech case were awarded a $50,000 settlement over the censorship of their flier.
Throughout 2016 the Williams administration faced continued legal and media pressure for transparency in internal affairs, primarily from the constant public statements being released by Davenport's attorney, Aaron Prisbrey. William's objective of continued secrecy simply compounded the challenges DSU faced: local city officials were accused of political conspiracy; the Honorable Judge Ron Read was forced to recuse himself from the Davenport case; and President Williams himself was almost found to be in contempt of court for refusal to release subpoenaed documents.
- Alana Lee Burns, competed in the 2012 Miss America pageant
- Anton Palepoi, NFL player 2002–2007
- Barry Sims, NFL player, 1999–2010
- Brad Thompson, MLB pitcher, 2005-2010; member of 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals
- Brandon Kintzler, MLB relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins
- Brandon Lyon, MLB relief pitcher, 2001–2013
- Bruce C. Hafen, LDS Church leader, president of Ricks College, 1978–1985
- Bruce Hurst, MLB Pitcher 1980–1994
- Corey Dillon, NFL running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, 1997–2003 and New England Patriots, 2004–2006
- Cresent Hardy, Nevada State Assemblyman
- Dave Rose, BYU Men's Basketball Head Coach, 2005–present
- Gregory Prince, pathology researcher and Mormon historian
- Howard W. Cannon, U.S. Senator from Nevada, 1959–1983
- Jeffrey R. Holland, president of Brigham Young University 1980–1989; apostle of the LDS Church 1994–present
- Jerry Atkin, founder and CEO of SkyWest, Inc.
- John Moses Browning, developed firearms in the 1900s
- John "Cat" Thompson, 1962 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
- Josh Burkman, former football player who earned JUCO All-American honors, current mixed martial artist for World Series of Fighting, formerly Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Junior Siavii, NFL player, 2004–2010
- Krissia Beatty, competed in the 2016 Miss America pageant
- Lionel Hollins, NBA All–Star, 1978; head coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, 2009–2013 and Brooklyn Nets, 2014–present
- M. Anthony Burns, CEO of Ryder, 1983–2000
- Marcus Banks, NBA player for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, and New Orleans Hornets, 2003–2012
- Maurice Baker, NBA player for the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers, 2005
- Mike Affleck, American football player, 2009–2010
- Nolan D. Archibald, CEO of Black & Decker
- P. Alberto Sanchez, film producer/writer/director
- Reno "Junior" Mahe, NFL running back for the Philadelphia Eagles, 2003–2007
- Rick Baird, member of the U.S. Bobsled team, 1998–2003
- Sark Arslanian, former football coach at Dixie Junior College, Weber State University and Colorado State University
- Scott Young, NFL offensive lineman, 2005–2009
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