Dixie State University President’s Colleagues to host founders of SkyWest Airlines

By Jyl Hall


In the next installment of the President’s Colleagues of Dixie State University meeting series, DSU Hall of Fame members J. Ralph and Cheri B. Atkin will present on their devotion to community service and SkyWest Airlines.

The Atkins will speak on their lifetime of service together at noon on Dec. 3 in Lecture Hall 156 of Dixie State’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, located on the Dixie Regional Medical Center campus at 1526 East Medical Center Drive. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The couple are heavily involved in the St. George community and around the globe. The Atkins recently returned from serving as public affairs volunteers in Turkey for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they are currently serving as the public affairs regional directors for the LDS church in Washington County.

Lifelong residents of St. George, Ralph and Cheri met at Dixie Junior College in 1964, graduated in 1965 and married in 1966. They both graduated from BYU in 1967 and then they moved on to the University of Utah, where Ralph studied law and graduated in 1970, and Cheri received her master’s in educational psychology that same year. They then returned to St. George, where Ralph began his legal career as the Washington County Attorney and established a general law practice, and Cheri accepted a teaching position at Dixie State.

Two years later, in 1972, they founded SkyWest Airlines and continued a 45-year advisory career while maintaining the private legal practice. They have been involved in numerous other businesses, including Café Rio Inc. and overseas airlines in Europe and West Africa. Additionally, they raised a family of eight children, all graduates of Dixie State University, and have 25 grandchildren.

The President’s Colleagues meeting series will continue with Dr. Joseph Platt speaking on Muhammad, the prophet and politician of Islam, at noon on Jan. 7 in the Taylor Health Science Center.

The President’s Colleagues of DSU, established more than 20 years ago by former DSU President Douglas Alder, is a group of retired professors and other professionals who live mostly in the Washington County area. Alder, who also started DSU’s Honors Program, organized the group as a way to increase academic activities on campus.