Dixie State University

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Dixie State University
Dixie State University logo.png
Type Public[1]
Established September 19, 1911 (1911-09-19)
President Richard Biff Williams
Academic staff
Students 8,993[2]
Location St. George, Utah, U.S.
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 (41 ha)
* Off-campus property: 97.1 acres (39 ha)
Colors Red, White, and Blue[3]
Nickname Trailblazers
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIPacific West
Mascot Brooks the Bison
Website www.dixie.edu

Dixie State University (also referred to as DSU or, colloquially, Dixie) is a public comprehensive university located in St. George, Utah.[4] The university offers 48 bachelor's degrees, 19 associate's degrees, 36 minors, and 15 certificates/endorsements.[5] As of fall 2016, there are 8,993 students enrolled at DSU, and the university has a 100% acceptance rate.[6] 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.[7]

The institution began as St. George Stake Academy, founded in 1911 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Later it became a state school of the Utah System of Higher Education.[8] In February 2013, the former Dixie State College, as it had been known since 2000, officially became Dixie State University.[8]

DSU's 15 athletic teams compete in Division II of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Dixie State Trailblazers. The Trailblazers football team joined the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2016,[9] and the Women's Swimming team competes in the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference,[10] but DSU's 13 other teams belong to the PacWest Conference.[11]


The Dixie Academy building in St. George, the original home of St. George Stake Academy

The institution was founded by 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,[12] 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 rather than give up on it, the local citizenry came together and maintained the school’s operation through donations and labor for two years.[13]

In 1935, the State Board of Education took over the funding for the school, but wanted to split the college students from the high school students, with the high school moving under the direction of Washington County. The community resisted, feeling that the approximate 200 college students and similar number of high school students needed to be combined to provide a good-sized student body for the many social and academic programs. Another concern was that the county did not have the funds to build a new high school.[14]

Between 1935 and 1963 there were close calls when various state leaders proposed closing the college, but the local citizens were fiercely loyal to the college and willing to donate to keep it alive. These local citizens, particularly the Dixie Education Association, raised the funds to purchase four blocks of land on 700 East and 100 South for a new campus. They presented that land to the state which, in turn, agreed to fund a few buildings for a new campus there. In 1957 the gymnasium was finished and by 1963 four other buildings were ready for college students with the high school students remaining on the downtown campus.[15]

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.[16] 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.

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.[17]

The institution contracted with a local advertising firm, Sorenson Advertising, to investigate names for the institution as a university[18] and found that alumni overwhelmingly supported the name "Dixie" while less than half of faculty/staff supported the name "Dixie" (p. 48).[19]

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.[20]

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 over 150 academic programs.[21]

Student association[edit]

Dixie State University's Student Association (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.[22] All Executive Council members and most Managers receive some sort of financial aid in return for their work.[23]

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.[24]

DSU Student clubs and organizations use OrgSync, the online community management system, as the main club hub where they can set up portals for their clubs, get updates, add club members, schedule events, keep track of club budgets, and perform other club management functions. The DSUSA Inter-Club Council (ICC) comprises all the university club presidents and DSUSA's Club Council. ICC meetings are held bi-weekly, and club presidents are encouraged to attend.[25]


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.[26]

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.[27] The football team went on to win that game, marking its first season-opening win since Aug., 2009.[28]

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.

DSU Men's soccer team, won the PACWEST 2016 championship by going 13-0, first-time in DSU history. They also earnd 11 PacWest Postseason Honors. Bradley Tella, from Arizon, earned Goalkeeper of the year, and First team all-conference. Bryan Baugh, from Henderson NV, earned Conference Defender of the year, and First team all-conference. Moises Medina, from Mesquite NV, was tabbed Freshman of the year and First team all-conference. Gabby Medina, From Mesquite NV, was named First team all-conference. Angel Estrada, freshman from Pasadena CA, was named First team all-conference. Hunter Ketterer, Heber UT, was named First team all-conference. Dominique Damato, Las Vegas NV, was named First team all-conference. Christian Hall, Layton UT, was named First team all-conference.

Trella (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler HS/Yavapai College), who was the league's preseason Goalkeeper of the Year and all-conference pick, currently leads the PacWest in goals against average (0.89, #32 in NCAA) and save percentage (.810). He posted four regular season shutout wins, all of which came in league play, and he is now DSU's career shutouts leader with 13 (9-0-4). A two-time PacWest Defender of the Week honoree (Oct. 31/Nov. 7), Trella tied his own single-season record for wins with 10 and he is also DSU's career leader in GAA and second in wins.

Baugh (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley HS) started in all 18 matches this season and anchors a defensive unit that has allowed just 14 goals in nearly 1,626 minutes played (0.77 GAA - 18th-nationally). He helped lead DSU to eight shutout wins overall, including seven PacWest shutout results. On the offensive side he tallied his second career goal earlier this season in a win vs. Fresno Pacific (10/1) and has five assists on the year, which moved him atop DSU's career assists list (13).

Moises Medina (Mesquite, Nev./Virgin Valley HS) (Mesquite, Nev./Virgin Valley HS), who was a two-time PacWest Freshman of the Week selection (Oct. 3/Oct. 17), currently leads Dixie State in goals (6) and points (18) and co-leads in assists (6). All six of his goals, including five game-winning goals, have come in PacWest play, while 16 of his 18 total points overall have come in league matches. Meanwhile, his six assists is tied DSU's single-season record and he has scored at least one point in 10 of DSU's 18 matches overall.

Gabby Medina (Mesquite, Nev./Virgin Valley HS) (Mesquite, Nev./Virgin Valley HS) is currently second on the team in points (14), co-leads the team in assists (6) and is third in goals (4) scored through 18 games this season. He was named PacWest co-Player of the Week (10/3) after he tallied a goal and two assists in a 3-2 win vs. defending PacWest champ Fresno Pacific (Oct. 1). In all, two of his four goals have gone for game-winners and Medina has tallied at least one point in seven of 17 matches played, while his six assists tied him with his brother for the team lead and DSU's single-season record.

Angel Estrada (Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena HS) saw time in every match this season and tallied three goals and one assist, and he was a key contributor on a defensive unit that has allowed just 14 goals in 18 regular season matches. He scored his first collegiate goal vs. the University of Mary (9/11) and collected a game-winning goal in the win over Academy of Art (10/22).

Ketterer (Heber City, Utah/Wasatch HS) started in all 17 matches he played in this season and was relied on as one of DSU's key defensive stoppers. Since he was inserted into the DSU starting line-up to begin his junior year, the Trailblazers have only surrendered 23 goals in 33 matches over the past two seasons. On the offensive end he tallied his first collegiate goal in DSU's 4-1 win at Chaminade (10/15).

Damato (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge HS) tallied two goals and dished out five assists in 18 matches played this season. His first collegiate goal came on a game-winner vs. Dominican (10/29), and he tacked on an insurance goal in DSUs PacWest-clinching win vs. Concordia-Irvine (11/3). Damato also played a vital role on the defensive side as he helped lead DSU to eight shutout wins overall, including seven PacWest shutout results.

Hall (Layton, Utah/Northridge HS) is currently second on the team in goals scored (5) and game-winning goals (4). Three of his four GWGs have come in PacWest play, including his fifth goal of the year in DSU's PacWest championship-clinching win vs. Concordia-Irvine (11/3), while Hall tallied consecutive GWGs in road wins at APU (9/22) and Point Loma (9/24) to open conference play.

Athletic facilities[edit]

The Trailblazers football and soccer teams play in Legend Solar Stadium, formerly known as Hansen Stadium. On April 29, 2016, Legend Solar announced it a donation of $10 million dollars in cash and trade toward the renovation of DSU’s stadium.[29] 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.[30]

The Trailblazers basketball teams play in the Burns Arena, named after Dixie alumnus and donor M. Anthony Burns.[31]

DSU Women’s Volleyball plays in the Old Gym, located in the Student Activities Center.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35] 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

Ban on sororities and fraternities[edit]

In 2013, Dixie State University student Indigo Klabanoff pushed for the creation of a sorority and its financial support. DSU did not approve it or the creation of clubs with Greek letters in their names (excepting honor societies),[36] because they said introducing Greek Life properly requires significant funding and the inherent “partying” stereotype of a Greek system was not a culture they wanted to encourage on campus.[37]


In December 2014, theater professor Varlo Davenport received a notice of dismissal and termination of employment in connection with a student complaint of an alleged assault, but was later told he could request a hearing because of his tenure. University officials did not investigate the complaint until political pressure began to mount against the University President. A reinstatement petition was started by students that ultimately garnered over 1400 signatures, many letters were also sent to the State Board of Regents from the community and faculty members. Those letters were almost immediately forwarded to President Williams. A faculty review board was convened, and after hearing presentations from both sides, recommended Davenport’s reinstatement.[38] DSU President Williams found the faculty review board’s findings were contrary to the information presented, but did not explain how they were contrary. He rejected the recommendation, and upheld the termination.[39] Members of the faculty review board subsequently met with President Williams, pressing for a change in his decision. They were unsuccessful. Although it is technically true that the student pressed charges, this came after members of DSU administration lobbied the Washington County Attorney to have child abuse charges filed against Davenport. Later St. George City agreed to file Class B misdemeanor charges in Justice Court. In the ensuing 2016 City of St. George v. Davenport trial, the jury found him not guilty.[40]


In 2015, in accordance with school policy, three students requested permission from the university to post fliers with satirical images of former President George W. Bush and revolutionary leader Che Guevara on campus.[41] The university disapproved the request because the fliers violated school policy by mocking people.[41]

On March 4, 2015, the three students filed a lawsuit against Dixie State University in federal court, stating that the university violated their Constitutional right to free speech with an overly restrictive and overly vague school policy.[41]

In May 2015, President Williams announced that all campus policies that infringed upon free expression and free speech were temporarily rescinded and new directives were being drafted.[42][43] In President Williams' statement, he said, "Dixie State University is a campus of academic freedom, with the right to inquire broadly and to question, and where even unpopular answers, seemingly absurd ideas, and unconventional thought are not only permitted, but even encouraged."[42][43] This statement upset many research-oriented faculty members.[42][43][not in citation given]

On September 17, 2015, Dixie State University settled the lawsuit with the three plaintiffs involved in the case.[44] The university agreed to pay the students $50,000 total in damages and attorney fees.[44] The university also agreed to revise its speech policies that the three plaintiffs said were restrictive and vague.[44]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dixie State University's Mission Stateent". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Color Palette | Dixie State University". Dixie.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  4. ^ "Dixie State University :: About :: Mission, Core-Themes, and Values". DSU. 2015-11-06. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  5. ^ "Degrees & Programs by College < Dixie State University". Catalog.dixie.edu. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  6. ^ http://ir.dixie.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/07/Fall-15-3rd-Week.pdf
  7. ^ "Student Enrollments |". Higheredutah.org. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  8. ^ a b Dr. Douglas Alder. "What is Dixie State University?". DSU. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Dixie State football to join Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference". Dixie Athletics. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  10. ^ "Dixie State announces addition of women's swim team". Dixie Athletics. 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  11. ^ "Dixie State must decide – to stay, or to go?". The Spectrum & Daily News. 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  12. ^ Larson, Andrew (1992). I Was Called to "Dixie:" The Virgin River Basin: Unique Experiences on Mormon Pioneering. Dixie College Foundation St. George, Utah. p. 185.
  13. ^ Adler, Douglas. "What is Dixie State University?". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Adler, Douglas. "What is Dixie State University?". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Adler, Douglas. "What is Dixie State University?". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "The Dixie/UofU Partnership". Dixie State University. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "S.C.R. 2011". Utah State Legislature. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Whitehurst, Lindsay (10 January 2013). "Survey says, keep 'Dixie' - nearly 83 percent support name". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  20. ^ "Dixie State University to go tobacco-free next year". Deseret News. November 22, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Approved # of Programs & Courses | Dixie State University". www.dixie.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 
  22. ^ "DSUSA Student Leaders". Dixie Student Life. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  23. ^ "DSUSA Job Descriptions". Dixie Student Life. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  24. ^ "DSUSA Constitution". 
  25. ^ "Dixie State University and DSUSA OrgSync Portal". orgsync.com. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  26. ^ "Dixie State University: Home of the Trailblazers". Dixie Sun News. 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  27. ^ "KCSG Television - Dixie State University s Brooks the Bison receives welcome from huge crowd". Kcsg.com. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  28. ^ Seegmiller, Keric (2016-09-02). "Dixie State football: Trailblazers open 2016 season with 21-14 win over N.M. Highlands". Deseret News. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  29. ^ "Legend Solar Donates $10M to Dixie State University". Business Wire. 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  30. ^ "Dixie State University :: News :: Legend Solar donates $10M to Dixie State University". News.dixie.edu. 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  31. ^ "Burns Arena". Dixie Athletics. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  32. ^ "Student Activities Center". Dixie Athletics. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  33. ^ "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. 
  34. ^ "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. 
  35. ^ Webb, Merrilee. "About Merrilee Webb". Reading Keyboard Music. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  36. ^ http://dixiestudentlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Clubs-and-Organizations-Bylaws-2014.pdf
  37. ^ https://www.ksl.com/?sid=27456180
  38. ^ http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-utah-state-news-/dsu-professor-terminated-after-a-student-claimed-he-had-assaulted-her
  39. ^ http://www.kcsg.com/view/full_story/26537383/article-Controversy--unrest-persist-over-Dixie-State-firing-professor--prosecutor-reviews-complaint?instance=more_local_news2#ixzz4KHErWj3O
  40. ^ http://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/local/2016/07/14/jury-deliberating-varlo-davenport-trial/87110012/
  41. ^ a b c Whitehurst, Lindsay (March 4, 2015). "Dixie State violates free speech, students say in lawsuit". The Associated Press. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  42. ^ a b c Perrino, Nic (September 17, 2015). "Lawsuit Settlement Restores Free Speech Rights at Dixie State". FIRE: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Retrieved August 14, 2016. 
  43. ^ a b c Lang-Byrd, Mary Lou. "Dixie State University to Revise Policies to Protect Free Speech". The Washington Free Beacon. May 6, 2015.
  44. ^ a b c Kessler, Mori. "Dixie State settles free speech lawsuit; students get $50,000". St George News. September 18, 2015.
  45. ^ "Cresent Hardy" (PDF). Legislative Biography – 2011 Session. Nevada Legislature. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 

External links[edit]