"No institution of higher learning in Utah has a brighter future then Southern Utah University," stated SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt at ceremonies on the Cedar City campus last week, marking the university's 95th anniversary.
"The university has nearly doubled in size over the last decade and could easily double again over the next five years if necessary funding is authorized," Sherratt said."Those who selected Cedar City as the site of the university 95 years ago did so believing Cedar City would someday emerge as the industrial center of southern Utah," Sherratt noted. "The prediction is now becoming a fact and will accelerate rapidly in the final decade of the 20th century."
Sherratt indicated that a harbinger of what is to come is suggested by the unprecedented number of businesses and industries that are investigating Cedar City as a possible site for new plants, offices and laboratories.
"This university, which has existed for nearly a century in relative isolation in a small Western town, will live out its second century amid continuous growth and change as Cedar City moves forward to fulfill the prophesies of its founders," Sherratt predicted. "How fortunate for this university to be located in a community destined to be one of the West's most vibrant centers of commerce, culture and education."
"Ten years ago Cedar City was in a crisis," he said. "The loss of 800 jobs at the iron mines was a staggering blow to the local economy. But in the years since, these jobs were replaced and many others added. Iron County is now one of but two counties in rural Utah with an unemployment rate lower than the state average."
"The presence of the university in Cedar City is a major factor in attracting new industries," Sher-ratt said, "but the community's location midway between Salt Lake city and Las Vegas, Nev., is also a decided plus. Las Vegas is one of America's fastest growing metropolitan centers and many of the industries currently investigating Cedar City as a plant site are spillovers from Las Vegas and Southern California.
"The challenge for Southern Utah University will be how best to accommodate to the new dynamics of its host community while preserving the institution's emphasis in personalized education," he noted. "For 95 years, SUU has been an educational sanctuary in a small college town. It will be our task now to preserve the sanctuary atmosphere in a community destined for unusual growth and change."