Utah Board of Higher Education recommends Dixie State University name change to UT Legislature

Decision comes after comprehensive name impact study

The Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously voted to recommend an institutional name change for Dixie State University to the Utah Legislature at its meeting on December 18, 2020. The DSU Board of Trustees recommended the name change to the state’s board of higher education on Monday, December 14.

“We support the recommendation from Dixie State University’s Board of Trustees to change their university’s name,” said Harris H. Simmons, Chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “We, like the university, are committed to ensuring student success, both in and out of the state, and making this adjustment now will help ensure their success over the long term.”

The full motion, which the Board unanimously voted to approve is:

“I move that the Utah Board of Higher Education support the recommendation from Dixie State University’s Board of Trustees to change the university’s name; I further move that the Board recommend to the Legislature that it change the name of Dixie State University.”

Vice Chair Aaron Osmond made the motion and Board member Alan Hall seconded.

This summer, the university commissioned Cicero Group to study the positive and negative impacts of continuing to include ‘Dixie’ in the university’s name. More than 3,000 stakeholders from St. George, the entire State of Utah and DSU’s recruiting areas participated in focus groups, in-depth interviews and surveys.

Among the findings, the impact study shows that 22% of recent graduates looking for jobs outside of Utah have had a prospective employer express concern that the word “Dixie” is on their résumé.

Forty-two percent of respondents from the university’s recruiting region and 27% of alumni indicated that the Dixie name has a negative impact on their willingness to attend DSU or encourage a student to do so. Additionally, almost half of current faculty and staff think keeping the name Dixie will have a negative impact on recruiting new faculty and staff.

Read the full ‘Dixie’ Name Impact Study.