‘Dixie’ not among themes selected for Dixie State University’s new name

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – ‘Dixie’ will likely not be apart of the new name for Dixie State University.

After months of research, the Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee voted to further research names within the ‘academic mission’ and ‘Utah’ themes as the next step in the process.

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In late April, six themes for the new name were identified after a survey of nearly 14,500 people. Those themes were St. George, Dixie, geological, academic mission, Deseret, and Utah. Recently, focus groups were conducted to provide the name recommendation committee with information to narrow down the themes.

The data shows focus groups favored having Utah in the name. Participants also liked a name based on the school’s academic mission because it would formalize its new polytechnic direction, but concerns were brought up that terms like ‘tech’ or ‘polytechnic’ are not fully understood because there is not a technological university in Utah.

“The university is working very hard to become the nation’s first and only open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic university, which will offer students from Southern Utah and beyond unique active learning opportunities to prepare for the in-demand careers of their dreams,” Julie Beck, DSU Board of Trustee member and chair of the Name Recommendation Committee, says. “An institutional name that will not only highlight this academic mission but also distinguish the university on a statewide level will better support the aspirations of our students, alumni, faculty and staff.” 

The committee is comprised of students, university employees, community members, and industry leaders. In addition to selecting the academic mission and Utah themes for the new names, the committee unanimously dismissed names within the Desert and geological/geographical themes.

In a 13-3 vote, the committee voted to not move forward with the Dixie theme after discussing the pros and cons of retaining the name.

“Proponents on the committee of keeping Dixie expressed support for it honoring the community and university’s heritage and serving as a location identifier within Utah. Others raised concerns about its location confusion and meaning outside of Utah,” a Monday release reads.

While several members of the committee expressed support for the St. George theme, concerns were discussed that including the city in the institutional name due to possible confusion with a Catholic institution, and its limited recognition outside of Utah. Instead, the committee unanimously voted to proceed with the Utah theme.

“The Name Recommendation Committee takes very seriously our charge to identify an institutional name that reflects the university’s mission and significance to the surrounding region and state while enabling the institution to compete and be recognized nationally,” Beck says. “By pairing concepts from the academic mission and Utah themes, I am confident we will be able to identify a strong name that accomplishes this.” 

Next, Love Communications will conduct focus groups with students and decision makers such as the university’s Board of Trustees, Utah Board of Higher Education, and Utah state legislators. Officials say these groups will delve further into the final themes and specific name ideas to consider strengths and weaknesses in areas like trademark, uniqueness, abbreviations, and connotations.

The final name recommendation will reflect the institution’s mission and significance to the surrounding region and state, and enable the institution to compete and be recognized nationally.

The committee discussed name options to help initiate conversations and proposed name options, including:

  • Utah Technological University
  • Utah University of Technology & Arts
  • Utah University of Technology & Humanities
  • Utah Polytechnic University
  • Utah Institute of Technology
  • Utah University of Technology

These names are not final recommendations, according to the committee.

Next week, the Name Recommendation Committee will reconvene to discuss specific names that performed well in the focus groups. They will narrow down the search to one specific name to recommend to the university’s Board of Trustees in June.

For more information about the Dixie State University name recommendation process, visit dixie.edu/nameprocess

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