Dixie Tech State Univeristy Sign
Dixie State University in St. George, Utah will celebrate its 111th commencement in 2022. The institution began in 1888 as a school created by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints settlers who were called to the area by church leaders to grow cotton. While the cotton industry did not flourish, the school did. This year the name will change to Utah Tech University.

In 2022 Dixie State University (DSU) will celebrate its 111th commencement ceremony. This institution of higher learning has educated students for more than a century under multiple names as it progressed from a small town college to a major university.

In July 2022 the school will begin using the name Utah Tech University (USU).

The university in the heart of St. George, Utah boasts has the lowest tuition of all 4-year state institutions in Utah. DSU features specialized education in multiple fields of study including:

  • arts
  • business
  • education
  • health sciences
  • humanities
  • science
  • engineering & technology

DSU began as a religious institution

St. George was originally settled by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) who were sent by church leaders in Salt Lake City to establish a hearty cotton industry. The area was warm like the deep South and with an attempt to grow cotton it was nicknamed, “Dixie.” 

The church originally established St. George Stake Academy in 1888. The Academy found a home at 86 S. Main Street, St. George, UT 84770 in 1911. The facility was designed for high school-aged students as well as college students. The cotton industry was not ultimately successful, but the educational institution was.

In time, the LDS Church turned over the reigns to the State of Utah (but the church continued to play a major role in supporting its operations). In 1916 it was renamed Dixie Normal College. In 1923, it was renamed yet again as Dixie Junior College. In 1933 the LDS Church withdrew its support of the two-year college. To avoid the closure of the school, local residents banned together and threw their support behind it with financial donations and labor to keep it in operation. They supported it for two years.

The college served high-school students as well as those seeking higher education. In 1935 the Utah Board of Education accepted responsibility for the college with a caveat - Washington County (the county in which St. George is located) was to move high school students to a new location. At that time there were about 200 college students and 200 high school students attending the school. Residents were frustrated by the notion of having to find a new location to educate their high school students and resisted the change.

Between 1935 and 1963 the institution struggled to stay open. Residents recognized the importance of education and collected donations to contribute to its maintenance and operation. 

The Dixie Education Association and other donors, raised the funds to purchase four blocks of land on 700 East and 100 South for a new campus. The land was turned over to the state with an agreement that the state would fund the building of new buildings for a small campus there.

In 1957 a gymnasium was finished. By 1963, four more buildings were completed for college students. The high school students remained at the Main Street campus. 

Dixie State College remained a two-year college until 2013 when the Utah State Legislature change the status of the college to a university. 

October 27, 2021, the Utah System of Higher Education voted to change the name to Utah Tech University. The Utah Legislature approved the name change and the school will begin using the new name in July 2022.

Utah Tech University Flags
Banners placed on the campus of Dixie State University (soon to be Utah Tech University) boast accolades afforded the four-year university from U.S. News and World Report.

Dixie State University Today

The name of the university will change in July; however, the quality of education offered there will remain the same. Today the public university offers four master’s degrees, 45 bachelor’s degrees, 11 associate degrees, 44 minors and 23 certificates/endorsements. The university takes pride in its engaging campus life, low tuition, and ever-changing offerings to meet the real-world needs of its growing student body. Today total enrollment is about 10,000. The school operates on a semester-based system.