Gov. to sign DSC’s university status

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Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature will finalize it: Dixie is a university at last.

Herbert will sign the bill that upgrades Dixie State College to Dixie State University in a ceremony to be held on campus Feb. 16.

It was originally planned that DSC would become a university on July 1, but because President Stephen Nadauld wanted students graduating this semester to have university degrees, the bill was fast-tracked. 

One of the final stages of the process to university status occurred Wednesday.

The Utah House of Representatives and the Utah State Senate both passed House Bill 61 calling for DSC to obtain university status and become Dixie State University.

The process to university status will be complete this Saturday morning.

“Gov. Herbert will be down to sign HB 61 into law and make us Dixie State University, effective immediately,” said Steve Johnson, DSC director of public relations. “Once pen hits paper.”

DSC will become the third open enrollment regional university in Utah and the sixth university in the state system.

With the transition to becoming a university, there will be a multitude of changes.

“We’ll be adding more degree programs eventually, and hopefully over the next couple of years be able to offer master programs,” Johnson said. “And with that we’ll be able to attract a Ph.D.-level faculty.”

Among all the change, there will be some aspects that will stay the same.

Such aspects will include athletics that will remain in NCA Division II and an emphasis in offering two-year degree and certificate programs, Johnson said.

The event on Saturday will be the major celebration this semester.

“Saturday is going to be a historic day for our institution, our students, our faculty and staff, our alumni and our community,” Nadauld said. “We are pleased to welcome Gov. Herbert to our campus to sign the bill to officially make us Dixie State University.”

There will be an official bill-signing ceremony in the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center Grand Foyer following a free pancake breakfast for all from 7 to 9 a.m. in the Gardner Center Ballroom. There are plans for further celebrations in the fall.

“It’s going to be exciting to basically really start our second century of service in this area as a university,” Johnson said.