Dixie State University moves forward with top 3 identities

ST. GEORGE — The results of Dixie State University’s identity survey are in and the institution has narrowed the search for the new nickname and athletic mascot to three finalists.

In no particular order, the Sun Warriors, Raptors and Blazers received the highest rankings from the nearly 4,700 Dixie State fans and community members who participated in the online survey.

In addition to ranking the final six mascot concepts, the university’s Identity Committee reviewed all additional comments and suggestions.

“The committee pored over ten years of research to compile the final six identities, and the data overwhelming called for an identity linked to the sun, our pioneer heritage or a strong desert animal,” Jyl Hall, Dixie State’s public relations director, said. “The three finalists were a perfect representation of what students, alumni and the community suggested.”

The Sun Warriors, representing the source of power the sun emits, was selected as a finalist for its connection to St. George and its 300 days of annual sunshine. The mascot for this identity, Apollo, the Greek god tasked with ushering in the sun each day, was also responsible for nourishing the creation of music, art and poetry, fostering the progression of medicine and health and holding keys to the truth — ideals that encompass many of Dixie’s institutional goals and values.

Additionally, Apollo would make for a fierce athletic mascot that Dixie’s opponents would be hesitant to challenge.

The Raptor identity — based on the Utahraptor, one of the fiercest dinosaurs to ever walk the Earth — represents the strength of both Dixie’s athletic teams and student body. Discovered in Southern Utah, this fierce beast has strong ties to the region and its geography. Considering no colleges or universities in the U.S. have adopted the raptor as a mascot, the identity is both fitting and unique.

DSU was founded by pioneers, and the institution was saved multiple times by its community. The Blazer identity represents Dixie’s pioneer heritage and spirit. As the original trailblazers of the West, the bison serve as the perfect mascot for the Blazer nickname. The trails blazed by the bison were adopted by American Indians and pioneers to serve as hunting and warrior paths and assisted with the migration out west.

Similarly, DSU students and alumni continue to blaze trails in a variety of disciplines and industries around the globe. Based on feedback from the survey, the committee is considering revising Blazers to Trailblazers.

The Identity Committee, made up of individuals representing DSU’s alumni, students, athletics, faculty, staff, administration and community, is diving even deeper into each mascot idea in order to find the best identity for DSU. Love Communications, an advertising and communications agency that has been working with the committee throughout the entire rebranding process, will create imagery, logos and branding for each of the three finalists.

The committee will review the logos and assess how each identity would be employed with Dixie events, traditions, clubs, teams and other factors. It is also important that the mascot relates to DSU’s history, mission and surrounding geography where possible. After reviewing the logos and other considerations, the committee will select the replacement for the current institutional nickname and athletic mascot, Red Storm and Big “D” the Bull.

Roughly 12 percent of survey participants requested a return to Dixie’s Rebel identity. The committee recognizes the passion and history surrounding this nickname and acknowledges that many alumni rightly associate their time at Dixie with Rebels.

While the committee understands there is nothing inherently wrong with the nickname Rebels, the Dixie State Rebel identity was closely tied to the slave-owning Confederate South due to the prevalent usage of Confederate flags and symbolism and the practice of Confederate-style traditions. The committee aims to create an identity that is positive, welcoming and representative of the university’s goals and values.

Additionally, Dixie State University will remain the formal name of the institution. When Dixie State became a university Feb. 16, 2013, House Bill 61 was signed into law, naming the institution Dixie State University. The name must remain in accordance with state statute.

Taking all the criteria into consideration, the Identity Committee will select one of the three finalists as the new athletic identity of DSU. The new mascot and brand are set to be revealed in spring 2016.

Email: news@stgnews.com

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9 Comments

  • ibchuckd December 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    What?! Are you kidding? Don’t you see that you’re way over-thinking this identity change. Ever heard the phrase “Keep It Simple Stupid?” Maybe you’re just to close to see it. Maybe you should have opened the voting to the rest of Utah because we all want to be proud of all our Universities and don’t want to be embarrassed by your mistake. Please don’t use the Portland Trail Blazers or Phoenix Suns names for your identity. If you have too, go with Raptors. But can you make the name flow a little better–like Dixie State DinoRaptors? (at least it’ll better tie it to a Velociraptor as oppossed to a owl). Here are some much better suggestions I can think of: Diamondbacks, Dragons, Dinos, Dynos, Devils, Demigods, etc.

    My favorite would be Diamonbacks. Even though the Eastern and Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are not indiginous to Southern Utah, their twin brother (the Mojave Rattlesnake) is, and most people confuse it with the Western Diamondback because they look almost identical with both having the diamond shaped markings on their backs. The main difference is that the Mojave is much more deadly.

    If you can’t go with a “D” name, then why not go with something radioactive. I make this suggestion for a couple of reasons. 1. Utah is very well known to have one of the largest deposits of Uranium on Earth, and 2. The group “Imagine Dragons” (a very well known Utah startup band) has one of this generations greatest rock anthems “Radioactive”–a song akin to Queen’s “We Will Rock You/We are the Champions.” Play it at any pep rally and you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, that’s my take on this as a fellow Utahan. Make us all proud!

  • NotSoFast December 28, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I still think UNLV wouldn’t mind sharing the ‘Running Rebels’ mascot ID. Kinda fits in with the college name of DIXIE.
    To make it more politically correct, put a dang ribbon on the female looking hat.

  • 42214 December 28, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    How about the DSU Hand Wringers

  • Carol December 29, 2015 at 5:51 am

    They need to rethink the committee that came up with these stupid names.
    Trailblazers? What do buffalo have to do with Dixie?
    Apollo a mascot for a university named Dixie?
    Raptors? Sounds like an elementary school. Dixie and Raptors do not go together.
    I went to the website to vote, but there was no place to say “none of the above”.

  • maggie December 29, 2015 at 6:03 am

    One would wonder what kind of a serious person would choose a college for the name. Unless of course it was attached to a rich academic history and many accomplished graduates. Wait….perhaps that is what DSU should strive for and not get caught up in the present day PC whining.

    • NotSoFast December 29, 2015 at 8:57 am

      I’m on maggie’s soapbox on this subject. (not that there’s anything wrong with a little bull crap once in a while).

  • rusty shackleford December 29, 2015 at 8:58 am

    They should go back to the Rebels, and stop being so politically correct. UNLV are still the Rebels and they have a more diverse student body than Dixie.

  • htown December 29, 2015 at 10:02 am

    You guys are still in denial ????

    Roughly 12 percent of survey participants requested a return to Dixie’s Rebel identity. The committee recognizes the passion and history surrounding this nickname and acknowledges that many alumni rightly associate their time at Dixie with Rebels. (First Place, the highest vote)

    While the committee understands there is nothing inherently wrong with the nickname Rebels, the Dixie State Rebel identity was closely tied to the slave-owning Confederate South due to the prevalent usage of Confederate flags and symbolism and the practice of Confederate-style traditions. (Closely tied, what 5% said that, the majority doesn’t closely tie this to slavery at all)

    Just quit with the BS, and state your agenda, it’s like trying to follow the history of a predominant religion.

  • Gary December 30, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I was afraid to click and read the story . . . and my fears were justified.

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