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SUU gets $7.5M donation for new business building

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University received the largest single donation in its 118-year history during a Founder's Day event last week.

The university received $7.5 million from the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Foundation, which has assisted SUU in projects such as student housing, scholarship funds and helping the institution achieve university status.

The new donation will go toward a new building for SUU's School of Business, with $5 million provided for construction costs. The remaining $2.5 million will be used in student scholarships.

"Throughout the years, the Leavitts have stepped forward to help SUU in its most critical moments, (and) this gift will transform Southern Utah University," President Scott Wyatt said in a prepared statement.

The gift marks the beginning of a fundraising campaign for the new building. The university has already secured a second donation of $500,000, with plans to raise up to $4 million more for the project, according to Stuart Jones, vice president for advancement and enrollment services.

Since the university's current business building was constructed in 1980, the number of business majors has more than doubled. The school has also added new programs, including a master's degree in management and accounting.

The Utah Board of Regents requested $9 million for the building last year, but the proposal was not included in the governor's budget proposal or final legislative appropriations this month.

— Morgan Jacobsen