Dixie State University is deeply appreciative to our state legislators and to the numerous individuals who have dedicated countless hours to House Bill 278S01. In particular, we would like to thank Senators Don Ipson and Mike McKell and Representatives Kelly Miles and Brad Last for their leadership in crafting and supporting this legislation. We acknowledge this has been a difficult yet important process, but we look forward to the opportunity to continue this dialogue. We are eager to work with Governor Cox as this legislation awaits his signature. We are confident that we can identify a name that enables our institution to move forward in the very best interest of our students and community.
Conversations regarding the Dixie State name and identity are not new. Similar discussions have occurred for more than 30 years. The love, respect, and understanding of the local term Dixie was never in question. The recent Cicero study only confirmed the local affinity for our name. Heritage is deeply important to our school and community, and we are profoundly appreciative of the long-lasting support we have received from our partners. Continuous discussions involving the name have not stemmed from the local meaning of Dixie but are due to the unalterable national meaning tied to the Confederate South, Civil War, and slavery.
As Dixie State University grows in size, stature, and influence on a national stage, the impacts of the double-meaning cannot be overlooked and more in-depth discussions are necessary to find lasting solutions. Along with demonstrating unwavering support among many, the Cicero data illustrates the name will and has created real, measurable, and continual obstacles for our graduates and the institution’s ability to create the best possible outcomes and experiences for our students and alumni.
The name change process set in motion by the DSU Board of Trustees was in no way designed to diminish the rich history, sacrifice, and legacy of the community, its founders, or our great University. This recommendation was made in honor of our founders’ willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. Our pioneering spirit cannot be erased and will be boldly honored and held as the standard for all future achievements at our institution. We appreciated working with our legislators to create the heritage initiative as part of the legislation to more fully share our story with the world.
Many have questioned the process, intent, and need to have this conversation again. However, the most recent name discussion began nearly one year ago when hundreds of organizations nationwide were having similar discussions. Unlike other organizations, DSU chose to not make any decisions at that time, but announced it would listen and gather data regarding the impacts of the name. DSU took several months to speak one-on-one with hundreds of community members and partners during the summer of 2020. Responding to these conversations, DSU commissioned the Cicero study that occurred from September to the end of November of 2020 in order to reach thousands of additional stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the discussions, the Cicero data, other evidence, and our new academic focus, the DSU Board of Trustees and the Utah System of Higher Education made the difficult but unanimous decision to recommend a name change process for Dixie State University.
We are now eager to collect additional data from students, alumni, employees, community members, industry leaders, and institutional partners to find the best possible name for our institution. We are energized and appreciative of the support and concern of so many and are optimistic we will find a name that honors our past, articulates our vision, and elevates the lives of each and every Trailblazer.
For additional information regarding the name change recommendation, the Cicero data, and to find frequently asked questions, visit dixie.edu/namechange.