From: Florence Merrill
To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Why We Need to CHANGE the Dixie Name
Date: 2021-01-13T16:58:07Z

Dear Senator, 


I am reaching out in regard to the name change discussion underway at Dixie State University. I am a previous student at the University, between the years 2017 and continuing throughout 2018. I was fortunate enough to be on a full scholarship and was afforded many wonderful experiences due to the excellent staff and students I interacted with. I participated and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the performing group Raging Red, and organizations such as Student Government. Although my time there had many benefits, I ended up transferring to Brigham Young University (where I am currently studying). This was for a number of reasons I will briefly highlight below and then explain how the university name change is directly correlated. 


Due to the reputation of Brigham Young University' programs and graduates, I believed that a degree from BYU would be held in higher regard than the alternative I had attended previously. 'Dixie State' was a name I was not sure would be recognized by recruiters post-graduation scouting me from across the country. 


A name is crucial to an overall feeling of unity and community with one's university and classmates. 'Dixie State', despite the historical ties to the area and to those that first settled in the area, feels separated from the location of the university. St. George Utah, as I am sure you know, is beautiful and unique. Many of the students, who come from countries all around the world, do not understand (or make efforts to understand) the link that the name Dixie has with the University's history. In my experience, we were known to our friends at other schools and locations as the 'school with the pretty red rocks'. The name Dixie and its origination never had any impact on how I viewed the University or its advantages. 


In the time I was there, Dixie State University had already done a wonderful job rebranding the unity using new marketing campaigns, a new mascot, and overall making the campus feel fresh and current. New buildings have been constructed, new curriculums introduced----while the faculty and administration of the university worked hard to stay updated on its students and the world they are lived in, the name of the university has failed to keep up with the other rapid changes taking place. I transferred as I felt I would be afforded more opportunities in a place with a secure identity such as Brigham Young University. 


I strongly believe that a name change would be beneficial to Dixie State University and its students. The careful curation of a new identity will not only strengthen the entire student body as a whole, but provide each student with a sense of personal attachment and pride for the university similar to what I feel with the school I am currently attending. I always felt the potential Dixie State had to live up the location and the community in where it resides and am pleased to see that the administration is working on fulfilling that potential. I hope you will be wise in allowing for this name change to be one that will last far into the future. 




Ellen Merrill