Move over ‘Dixie State,’ Utah Tech University has arrived

Merchandise and apparel bearing the new logos will be available to students and community members at the campus store beginning May 16 | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Just in time for the start of the summer semester, Dixie State University has begun updating signs, websites, merchandise and more to incorporate new logos released in advance of the July 1 transition to Utah Tech University.

The new primary logo for Utah Tech University | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

The new institutional logo shows the words “Utah Tech” in blue and red, divided in half horizontally above “University” in smaller font. According to documents provided by the university, the new logo’s color palette represents the red rocks and blue sky of Southern Utah.

In addition, the shape of Utah is visible in the negative space of the “U.” This new logo replaces the “DSU” composed of red bluffs that was also paying homage to regional features.

Community members will likely first notice the change on Monday as signs on campus buildings like Greater Zion Stadium, the Human Performance Center and other structures around St. George are updated. The new university homepage is also live, and the campus bookstore already has apparel and other merchandise showing the new logos.

As for why university administrators chose to initiate the rebranding now, President Richard “Biff” Williams said it would be helpful to get a head start and make the transition less confusing for students.

Rendering of a student wearing apparel with the Utah Tech University athletic logo and logomark | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

“Because of the timeline to do this, it’s almost an impossible task,” Williams said. “We knew it would take the entire summer to get everything done, so we decided let’s go a week or two after commencement and then we’ll hit it hard and rebrand the university so that almost everything will be done, forward-facing or outward-facing, by August when they (students) come back.”

Students will be on campus during the summer semester, and incoming freshmen are expected to visit briefly for new student orientation beginning June 1. Williams said it would have been unnecessarily complicated to have students visit DSU in the summer only to return to Utah Tech University in the fall.

Some members of the student body have already seen the new logos as part of the university’s efforts to gauge public opinion on proposed designs. In fact, over 600 people representing various interest groups – students, alumni, faculty, etc. – weighed in during the logo design process.

A rendering of the new “UT” sign on the Human Performance Center | Photo courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

Jordon Sharp, vice president of marketing and communication, said the university considered 27 logo designs in total, 22 of which were submitted by students, professors and local designers.

Acknowledging the controversy that surrounded the name change process, Sharp said he’s optimistic that the overall response will be positive and the new branding will be well received by local residents and students.

“This isn’t our first name change, and it’s been difficult every time,” he said. “The brand of a university is more than just a name or a color or a logo: it really is part of who we are. We know that change is difficult … and at the end of the day we’re here for the students, we’re here for the community despite any personal preferences.”

Vocal opposition to the name change notwithstanding, Sharp said there’s been one question that’s dominated social media inquiries directed at the university: when can alumni receive a diploma with the new name?

President Richard “Biff” Williams addresses reporters at a press briefing held to announce the logo for Utah Tech University, St. George, Utah, May 10, 2022 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

These requests will be fulfilled through the university website, after the latest batch of graduates receive their diplomas in mid-summer.

Changes to other branded material around campus and throughout the region will follow Monday’s announcement. For example, the large, block-letter “D’s” around campus will be replaced with matching “UT” structures, while the Trailblazer bison statues around town will slowly replace references to Dixie State or DSU with the new name and acronym.

The university has tried to find creative ways to reuse some materials, including sign lettering, and reduce waste in the process, even finding a new home for the “D’s” (repainted blue) at Dixie High School, Sharp said.

The name change process was initiated in July of 2020 when Dixie State announced it would begin gathering information about the impacts of the university’s name. Following almost two years of investigation, public comment and voting, the Utah Legislature approved the name “Utah Tech University” as a replacement for Dixie State in its Nov. 2021 session.

Informed by thousands of survey responses, public comments and focus group suggestions, this latest name change certainly exceeds all its predecessors in scope, Williams said. That data, and subsequent deliberation, really set the latest name change apart from similar efforts in the university’s past, he added.

“Other times we based it on popularity or what made us feel good,” Williams said. “This time we really looked at what’s in the best interest of students and how that’s going to affect the students. We made sure it wasn’t just about the here and now, but also looking forward.”

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