Imminent university status spawns programs, endowments; legislation seeks $4 Mil. transitional funding

ST. GEORGE – In concerted motions and emotions delivered Friday, when Utah’s Board of Regents met at Dixie State College of Utah to approve the college for university status along with the proposed name, “Dixie State University,” the boards of regents and trustees took action to further the institution’s mission statements and offerings.

New history degree program

The Regents approved a new four-year history degree program, to begin in the fall, including a Bachelor of Arts and Science as well as a minor – a common core of courses and advanced courses that emphasize the three essential components of the core curriculum: historical knowledge, historical thinking and historical skills.

The addition of history to Dixie State’s list of degree offerings, which now stands at 43 baccalaureate degree programs in 23 content areas, also completed the final benchmark Dixie State needed to meet to become a university.

“This is a monumental day – our benchmark degrees, our core and foundational degrees – this was the last check,” the college’s vice president of academics, Dr. Donna Dillingham-Evans said. “Our students now have a breadth of opportunities that reflect degree-granting institutions across this nation. … We are now poised to take on the mantle of a university.”

Secondary education licensure program

The Regents approved a secondary education teaching licensure program for the school in four emphases: biology, English education, integrated science and theater education.

Emphases in business administration program

Additional emphases were approved in accounting, finance, management information systems, and visual technology in Dixie’s business administration program.

Continuation of community college and certificate programs

Dixie will continue its community college mission in providing two-year and certificate programs to meet the needs of all students and the community.


In 2005, the Board of Regents approved a change in mission for Dixie State College, allowing the college to begin offering bachelor’s degrees in “core” or “foundational” areas consistent with four-year colleges.

Established in 1911 and built on the site of the first pioneer encampment in St. George, Dixie State College of Utah strives to help students to define, shape and achieve educational and life goals.

Trustees create minority student scholarship endowment

Board of trustees Chair Steven Caplin announced the creation of a new minority student scholarship endowment, established through an anonymous donation of $20,000, which has since been matched through collective generosity of several donors and benefactors.

The endowment is named after current regent, the Rev. France A. Davis, so serving since 2008. He is also pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City since 1974, and holds degrees from multiple universities and a college, as well as honorary degrees and awards. In addition to sitting as a board member on the NAACP for many years, Davis helped lead the successful effort to create Utah’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and has advocated for equal opportunities in higher education.

“We’re delighted with the money that has come in the name of Pastor Davis and we are pleased to have a scholarship that honors him,” Dixie State President Dr. Stephen Nadauld, said.

Legislative action on name change and university status

The matters of university status and proposed name for Dixie State now move on to the state Legislature for final approval and funding consideration.

Rep. Don Ipson has sponsored House Bill 61, which will move to the Senate upon passage, sponsored there by Sen. Steve Urquhart. On passage in both chambers, it proceeds to the governor for signature.

Funding the transition

The proposed legislation provides the changes be effective July 1, 2013, and includes a $4 million one-time appropriation from the state’s education fund in fiscal year 2013-14, to be used  “to provide infrastructure and meet benchmarks that will facilitate the transition from college to university status, including increased efficiency and expediency of instructional delivery and developing capacity partnerships with other insitutions.”

Information / Contributions to France A. Davis Scholarship Endowment

Contact:  Dixie State College Development Office at 435-652-7906.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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