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Dixie State officials to reconsider polytechnic moniker

Name change committee reports feedback from community may result in considering other new names

Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.
Dixie State University in St. George is pictured on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Dixie State University Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday to vote on whether the latest proposed moniker for the school — Utah Polytechnic State University — will stick.

The board’s Name Recommendation Committee will discuss community feedback on the recent proposal, which was formally announced to the public earlier this month. “And based on what they have learned, will likely look at alternative names to consider,” according to an announcement from the trustees.

The meeting will be Tuesday at noon in the Zion Room of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building at the Dixie State University campus.

The idea behind the name, Utah Tech for short, was to spotlight the southern Utah school’s role as a polytechnic university that is also open enrollment. Michael Lacourse, Dixie’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, has said polytechnic means learning by doing.

The university defines polytechnic by three other tenants, he said, which include career readiness, deep collaboration with industry “to ensure our programs continue to be relevant,” and “going deeper into experiential learning.”

Officials say the name would emphasize the nature of the school’s more than 200 academic programs and emulate universities such as Cal Poly, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech, which have similar focuses as schools of polytechnics.

Critics of the name change have said the name Dixie draws from Latter-day Saint pioneers who settled the area to grow crops that were cultivated in the deep South, such as cotton, and want to keep it to honor the area’s history.