Is Utah university’s ‘Dixie’ name going the way of The Chicks?

Dixie State University in St. George is pictured on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. In the background is the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons.

Dixie State University in St. George is pictured on Sunday, Oct.11, 2020. In the background is the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons. | Ravell Call, Deseret News

Like the country music group The Chicks and Intermountain Healthcare’s St. George Regional Hospital, Dixie State University could be the next entity that drops Dixie from its name.

Only the Utah Legislature has statutory authority to name public colleges and universities, but the latest action by a name recommendation committee, which voted 13-3 earlier this week not to move forward with the Dixie name, suggests dwindling support for the title.

The committee voted to give further consideration to two themes: one tied to the university’s academic mission and another that identifies the university’s location with Utah, given preference over St. George. More focus groups have been scheduled to gather feedback on the remaining themes and possible names.

The name recommendation committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday to consider whether to recommend one of the two themes to the DSU Board of Trustees, or perhaps a name that combines both themes such as Utah Polytechnic University or Utah Institute of Technology. The trustees’ next meeting has not yet been scheduled.

According to the university’s web page about the name change, the name recommendation committee extensively discussed the pros and cons of retaining the Dixie 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,” the website states.

DSU trustee Julie B. Beck, who chairs the name recommendation committee, said in a statement that 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 …read more

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