Here’s what 10-years of ‘university’ status looks like at Utah Tech

Utah Tech University celebrates 10 years of “university” status. Brynlee Wade | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of becoming a university this month.

On Utah Tech’s instagram page, a video was released listing events since attaining university status. 

According to Utah Tech’s website, bachelor’s degrees were introduced to the school’s curriculum in the late ’90s.

University status ensured the growth and expansion of opportunities for Utah Tech. Since 2016, a polytechnic approach has been installed and master’s degrees have been added. 

To celebrate Utah Tech’s 10-year anniversary Feb. 16, a cake cutting was held in front of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons and Library to commemorate the day Governor Herbert signed the bill into legislation.

“It was a nod back to the original event when it happened,” said Jyl Hall, director of public relations. “Back 10 years ago, Governor Herbert actually came on our campus to sign the bill. They had a big cake cutting ceremony.”

Hall has worked at Utah Tech since 2014, almost nine years. From 2015-2020, the university had its first strategic plan to develop growth called Status to Stature. The school had its university status but remained a small school. This plan created even more growth for Utah Tech. 

Hall said she loved witnessing the Status to Stature plan unfold. 

“I love that we’re an open access institution,” Hall said. “That anyone who desires an education can come here and get it.”

In 2013 when university status was gained, the name changed from Dixie State College of Utah to Dixie State University. 

The change from Dixie State College to Dixie State University started when faculty, alumni and students wanted to become a university due to how much growth was seen. More degrees were being offered and even the potential of graduate degrees were being discussed.

Despite the most recent change in name, from Dixie State University to Utah Tech University, there have been many name changes since the institute opened in 1911: 

  • 1911-1913: St. George Stake Academy
  • 1913–1916: Dixie Academy
  • 1916–1923: Dixie Normal College
  • 1923–1971: Dixie Junior College
  • 1971–2000: Dixie College
  • 2000–2013: Dixie State College of Utah
  • 2013–2022: Dixie State University
  • 2022-Present: Utah Tech University

Hall said within the past 10 years, the processes of changing names were similar. Because Utah Tech is a state funded institution, name changes have to be completed through legislation. 

According to Utah Tech’s website, after hearing the effect the name of the school had on graduates getting jobs, the school started the process of changing the name again.

The Board of Trustees had to approve of the university status change before it went to the Utah System of Higher Education. Once approved through them, it went through the house of representatives and senate.

Hall said the school’s faulty and staff members are excited to keep serving students and the St. George region.

“We really value our partnership with not just the city of St. George but all the cities in Washington county,” Hall said. “Just continuing to offer more services, events and cultural experiences for all of the community that they can come and just be enriched by the university.”

Chastity Wilson, a freshman criminal justice major from Kamas, said her favorite thing about being a part of this school is the overall community feeling here. She said that feeling makes it easier to make friends. 

Wilson said the classes are smaller and the professors are more willing to work with students, which in return, helps her succeed in her classes. Her favorite activity she has been to was the concert during welcome week. 

“I was able to go with my roommate, and we [were] front row to a band that was from Salt Lake [City],” Wilson said. “I also really enjoyed the homecoming football game and some of the dances the school provides as well.”

Kaitlyn Hougham, a freshman elementary education major from Las Vegas, said her favorite part about Utah Tech is how easy it is to get involved. 

“There are so many opportunities to be involved within the school and outside community,” Hougham said. “There’s opportunities that allow you to find and understand yourself as well as chances to make great memories with friends.”

Hougham said she also enjoys the small class sizes that allow her to be heard and not have to fight for an opportunity to speak. 

“As a student that went to over-crowded public schools almost her entire life, it’s nice being able to ask questions and form [connections] to teachers,” Hougham said.

Hougham said her favorite activity this past school year has been casino night. She was a volunteer through Code Red. She said she loved being able to connect with other students and learn about who those students are. 

The faculty members of Utah Tech continue to help students discover their passions. The continued growth in rising numbers of students show that Utah Tech is beloved by many.