Tiffany Wilson: Dixie State University name change is about student success

We’re not erasing the school’s history. We’re enhancing its future.

(Photo courtesy of Dixie State University) Pictured is Dixie State University in St. George. The school is currently undergoing a process to change its name.

I currently serve as Chair of the Dixie State University Board of Trustees, the most rewarding and challenging job of my life. I also happen to be a true daughter of Dixie, in every sense of the word. I grew up in Utah’s Dixie, graduated from every local Dixie school including Dixie College, and I am the daughter of . . . you guessed it, my mother, Dixie.

So as the debate over the name of the university has rolled on over the past 17 months, I have found myself uniquely attuned to all sides of this issue. I have keenly felt the pull of my deep connection to the local nickname I’ve known, loved, and understood for my entire life. And yet the thing that continues to lead both my heart and head is my responsibility and commitment to ensure the success of DSU’s current and future students.

During this past year and a half, I’ve heard every possible reason not to change the university’s name. Yet our students’ success remains far more important to me than any other consideration. And thus, we’ve continued.

This issue is not an attempt at canceling or erasing history. We are deeply proud of our pioneer ancestors who blazed the trail for the establishment of an institution of higher learning here in southern Utah.

But the reality is that this issue is not about any of that. Instead, this entire issue can be summarized in one simple phrase – potential for student success.

Nothing will prepare our students for success like the university’s comprehensive polytechnic education. Active learning experiences and collaboration with industry partners in a wide variety of fields not only prepare students to graduate career ready, but they also shape the workforce of tomorrow to meet economic demands.

When I cast my vote this past June in support of the name Utah Tech University, I had to put my personal history and emotional attachments aside. As we consider this issue, it’s critical that we focus on our responsibility as stewards for the future of Utah’s students. When an unnecessary barrier exists, we have the opportunity (dare I say, responsibility) to remove it.

I invite each of us to stand for the tens of thousands of current and future students who will benefit tremendously from the university’s comprehensive polytechnic model of education under the name Utah Tech. It’s time we remember who this whole university name issue is about, and it’s simply about our students.

Tiffany Wilson lives in St. George and is chair of Dixie State University Board of Trustees.

Tiffany Wilson, chair of Dixie State University Board of Trustees (Courtesy of Tiffany Wilson)