Utah Tech throughout the years

With a new updated name and logo, Utah Tech University’s campus looks fresh and up to date. Misha Mosiichuk | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University continues to grow and make improvements in many different ways. Over the years, drastic changes have been made to provide the best experience for students, faculty and staff.

The history of Utah Tech

Utah Tech dates back to the 1850s and has undergone multiple name changes thus far. The most recent name change for the institution is from Dixie State University to Utah Tech University.

Our mascot, Brooks the Bison, got his name from Washington County resident Samuel Brooks. He was the first student to enroll at then named St. George Stake Academy. Brooks’ determination and dedication made him a trailblazer during his time. Brooks the Bison is still the university’s mascot after the name change. 

The name “Dixie” has been part of the school’s name for 109 years but was recently removed after a two-year name change process. 

The name “Utah Tech” is intended to be more encompassing, help the institution grow, and serve more people across the country. It is also intended to give the institution more prominence outside of Utah.

Although “Dixie” is no longer in the institution’s name, the university still contributes recognition to the Dixie Pioneers and the heritage behind it. 

Jyl Hall, director of public relations, said: “[the name change] doesn’t erase the history and that was never the institution’s intent, it’s just growing into who we are. We are still going to honor our history and recognize the good things that have happened in the past and maybe the not-so-good things, and realize that recognizing them is important for growing.”

The center of the Utah Tech campus is the encampment mall. This is where the pioneers raised their families, taught their children and kept their covered wagons. Today, the encampment mall is where a large majority of the university’s events are held.

Utah Tech plans to keep the name “Dixie Campus” for no less than 20 years. The university also plans to continue celebrating D-Week.

“Locally, it’s so important to our community that we honor our history and our heritage and the pioneers who valued education and got this campus started,” Hall said.

Community involvement

John Bowler, director of alumni relations, said the sense of community was palpable when he attended and it’s something he hopes the institution never loses as it continues to grow.

The community has heavily been involved in the school since it was founded. Raising money, assisting the building process, and other acts of selfless help were taken. The community today continues to support the institution with sacrifices, time, expertise and more.

“We have received more donations than ever before in the institution’s history,” Hall said. “We are really seeing people get excited about this.” 

Hall believes donors are seeing ties to the polytechnic education model with the Utah Tech name. They are also seeing division I athletics, growth in buildings, students and academic programs. 

“They are seeing momentum and want to be a part of it,” Hall said.

The Trailblazers’ athletic department recently announced a partnership with doTERRA to help create a nutrition center for student-athletes, which will be a place that provides healthy meal options for them. The doTerra partnership will also contribute to a weight room remodel. In addition, The Smith Computer Center also received donations from two local companies to facilitate a remodel.

Utah Tech recently

Within the past few years, Utah Tech has grown and changed more than ever. From new buildings, more student enrollment, academic programs, and a wider diversity of academic offerings.

“The physical growth is just a representation of all the other growth we’ve had,” Hall said. 

Since University President Richard “Biff” Williams was elected in 2014, the growth for student enrollment has increased by around 4,000 over the period.

The name change has also emphasized the polytechnic education and the institution’s goals. The focus of polytechnic education means hands-on learning and career preparation. This goes along with intending to help students prepare to be career ready.

Utah Tech provides opportunities for students to experience preparation for life after college such as internship opportunities, industry partners, clinicals and practicums.

“Our goal really is that students will graduate career ready on day one, and they will hit the ground running as soon as they graduate,” Hall said.

Today, more than 200 academic programs are provided at Utah Tech. These programs provide life-changing opportunities in multiple areas such as STEM, business, arts and more.

Jonathan Morell, director of student support services, said, “Because of the name change, we put a little more emphasis on active learning, active life…we want you to have a feel of what you’re going into when you graduate.”

Students at Utah Tech are able to have hands-on experiences and can benefit from practical learning opportunities provided by industry partnerships. Doing so helps students experience to become career ready.

All in all, Utah Tech is an institution with a rich history that is still relevant today and continues to make changes to improve in all aspects.