Dixie State University

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"Dixie College" redirects here. Dixie College may also refer to Tennessee Technological University.
Dixie State University
Established September 19, 1911
Type Public [1]
President Richard B. Williams
Academic staff
Students 8,570 [2]
Location St. George, Utah, United States
37°5′43″N 113°34′40″W / 37.09528°N 113.57778°W / 37.09528; -113.57778Coordinates: 37°5′43″N 113°34′40″W / 37.09528°N 113.57778°W / 37.09528; -113.57778
Campus Urban
main campus: 100.11 acres, campus off-site property: 97.1 acres, total campus: 200.99 acres
Colors Red (PMS 200) and Tan (PMS 7535)
Nickname DSU (formerly DSC), Red Storm
Mascot Big Dee (formerly Rodney Rebel)
Website www.dixie.edu

Dixie State University (formerly Dixie State College) is a public university located in St. George, Utah, United States.


Community Arts Building in St. George, the original home of Dixie College

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, which is located in a region that was called "Utah's Dixie" by Brigham Young, 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.[3] In 1970, the school became Dixie College, then 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.[4] 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. The two institutions formed a task force to define the parameters of an enhanced affiliation, to be approved by both Trustee boards, the Utah State Board of Regents, and the Utah State Legislature. The process was expected to be complete in 2009.

Due to local concerns[5] and the refusal to abandon the "Dixie" name and "Rebel" mascot, the idea of merging Dixie State College into the University of Utah was abandoned.

In 2011, a bill was drafted for the review of the Utah State Legislature and the Utah State Governor to support Dixie State College's transition to university status.[6]

In 2012 and 2013, the institution became a focus of local and national media attention concerning the name for the institution as a university.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] The institution's close association with the Confederate South documented in the school yearbook, The Confederate,[16] from the 1950s through 1993 was scrutinized, as were incidents of students appearing on parade floats and at school activities in blackface in the 1960s (during the Civil Rights Movement) through 1993 and the display of the Confederate flag at many school events. The school also named student dorms after plantations.[17] The school adopted the Confederate imagery in 1956 with the mascot "Rodney Rebel" and displayed a large statue of a Confederate soldier on campus through 2012. The statue was removed in December 2012, after students, faculty and community members protested in front of the statue.[18][19][20]

The institution contracted with a local advertising firm, Sorenson Advertising, to investigate names for the institution as a university[21] and found that alumni overwhelmingly supported the name "Dixie" while less than half of faculty/staff supported the name "Dixie." The report was highly criticized for its methodology. At one point, the institution publicly considered an apology for the association with the Confederacy and "other controversial imagery",[17] but in the end the institution denied any knowledge of racist behavior stating, "No one on this board or in this administration is aware of any racial discrimination in our past."[15] Sorenson Advertising recommended a name other than "Dixie" if the school wanted to expand recruitment beyond the local community. The same day the Trustees voted in favor of the name "Dixie", the school president said he hoped "to attract an increasing number of international and out-of-state students who pay higher tuition than in-state students".[22] The NAACP also spoke out against the name "Dixie".[15]

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.

Another legislative action undertaken was a campus-wide tobacco ban. The ban prohibits all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. The ban went into effect on January 1, 2014.[23]

The primary campus of Dixie State University is located in St. George, Utah, with the Hurricane Education Center campus extension located in Hurricane, Utah.


Part of the campus of Dixie State University

The University offers baccalaureate degrees in Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Communications with emphases in Digital Motion Picture Production, Mass Communication, and Human Communication,[24] Computer and Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Dental Hygiene, Elementary Education, English with emphases in English Education, Literary Studies, and Professional and Technical Writing, Spanish, Family and Consumer Science Education, History Education, Integrated Studies, Music, Music Education, Nursing, Psychology, Theatre, and Secondary Licensure. The administration of Dixie State University is working to provide more baccalaureate degrees.

Associate degree offerings include Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Science in Business, Associate of Pre-Engineering and Associate of Science in Criminal Justice as well as Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education, and Associate Degrees of Applied Science in Automotive Mechanics, Early Childhood Education, Health Science, and Marketing. Also, certifications in Nursing, Medical Radiography, Automotive Mechanics, Dental Hygiene, Marketing, and Visual Technology are also available.


Main article: Dixie State Red Storm

Dixie State competes in NCAA Division II as a full member of the Pacific West Conference and as a football-only member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The team name is the Red Storm. Previously, when the school competed in Junior College athletics, Dixie State teams used the team name "Rebels".

Raging Red Show Choir[edit]

The Raging Red Show Choir is a goodwill and showcase performance group composed of students that was started in January 2009.[25] 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.

In April 2010, Raging Red opened a show for Jon Schmidt as a fundraiser for its trip to China the following month, which was in part funded by the students.[26]

Raging Red is based on the idea of "making your box bigger," as opposed to stepping outside of it, or, making yourself comfortable with doing things you would not normally do without violating your personal standards or pretending to be something you are not.[clarification needed] Students that are involved in Raging Red are encouraged to be examples in the community and to other students, as Raging Red is a recruiting tool for Dixie State.

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.[27] 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.

Box office[edit]

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


In 2013, Dixie State University student Like 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." [28]

On March 4, 2015, three students filed a federal lawsuit 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. [29]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dixie State University's Mission Statement". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Enrollment holds steady at Utah's public colleges and universities". Utah System of Higher Education. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Adler, Douglas. "What is Dixie State University?". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Dixie/UofU Partnership". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Perkins, Nancy (25 October 2007). "Dixie trustee yanks support for affiliation with the University of Utah". Deseret News. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "S.C.R. 2011". Utah State Legislature. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Bagley. "Drove Old Dixie Down". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Maffly, Brian (10 December 2012). "Utah's Dixie was steeped in slave culture, historians say". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Kessler, Mori (13 December 2012). "Silent vigil focuses on Dixie State name change; STGnews videocast". St. George News. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Hyland, Dallas (12 December 2012). "ON Kilter: When a sculptor shapes public perception, who speaks for whom?". St. George News. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Kessler, Mori (20 December 2012). "Dixie-ites dead set on name retention at Sorenson forum; STGnews Videocast". St. George News. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "What's in a name? Left, right or Dixie?". The Spectrum. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "'Dixie' name can be a big obstacle as college evolves". The Spectrum. 30 December 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Winslow, Ben (10 January 2013). "Dixie State College contemplates apology for past racism on campus". Fox 13. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c Whitehurst, Lindsay (18 January 2013). "Dixie State College keeping its name amid controversy". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  16. ^ Colgrass, Neal. "College: We're Keeping 'Dixie' in Our Name". Newser.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  17. ^ a b Whitehurst, Lindsay (12 January 2013). "Dixie may apologize for past Confederate, blackface imagery". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  18. ^ Maffly, Brian (6 December 2012). "Amid name debate, Dixie removes Confederate statue". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Sorenson Advertising (January 2013). "Dixie State College of Utah Research Report" (PDF). Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Confederate Statue". The Spectrum. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Whitehurst, Lindsay (10 January 2013). "Survey says, keep 'Dixie' - nearly 83 percent support name". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  22. ^ Jenkins, Kevin (18 January 2013). "Trustees unanimously approve Dixie State University". The Spectrum. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "Dixie State University to go tobacco-free next year". Deseret News. November 22, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  24. ^ "What Can I Do With A Communication Degree>". Dixie State University. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  25. ^ "Dixie State's "Raging Red" Show Choir Set to Perform at Tuesday's Dixie Forum". Dixie Today. Dixie State University. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  26. ^ "Dixie State's "Raging Red" Show Choir Teams Up with Renowned Pianist Jon Schmidt for Benefit Concert April 20". Dixie Today. Dixie State University. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  27. ^ Webb, Merrilee. "About Merrilee Webb". Reading Keyboard Music. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  28. ^ http://fox13now.com/2013/08/10/students-push-for-greek-life-at-dixie-state-university
  29. ^ http://www.sltrib.com/home/2250052-155/students-sue-saying-dixie-state-violates
  30. ^ "Cresent Hardy" (PDF). Legislative Biography - 2011 Session. Nevada Legislature. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 

External links[edit]