To: Sen. McKell, M.,
Subject: Please CHANGE the Dixie Name
I am writing to express my support of the proposed name change of Dixie State University. I have lived in southern Utah for nearly ten years and know what a wonderful community this is. I appreciate the pride those who have spent generations in this area must feel. I understand the reason for the Dixie nickname and why the school held that name. However, the school no longer just serves this community alone, and Dixie State University needs to be able to appeal to a broader audience.
I grew up on the east coast and had never heard of DSU until we found a potential job opportunity for my husband at the university. I remember looking at that posting and wondering why the school would be named Dixie. We decided to take the time to look up the reason and find out more about the school before deciding to pursue or discard the opportunity. But how many people are there who don’t take that time and just pass the school over? How many potential students, faculty, and staff are we missing out on? More importantly, how many potential employers are passing over our graduates because they question the name and don’t have the time to look up the history behind it. We know from the survey the school conducted that 1 of every 5 graduates have experienced concern from potential employers. But we will never know how many never even made it in the door because they had plenty of other equally qualified candidates whose resume didn’t give them a moment’s pause. Our graduates should only need to sell themselves and not have to explain or justify the university name.
Of course, this name issue is nothing new and not something that is ever going away. The only difference now is the university is becoming more nationally visible and the name Dixie is becoming a little more controversial. I’ve been reading a lot of opposing opinions on this matter. I see a lot being said about the heritage of the area being taken away. I wonder if the heritage in this area is less than it was before because SkyWest Airlines did not keep the Dixie Airlines name it originally was founded under. I’ve seen people say their ancestors would be rolling over in their graves for us even considering changing the name. I wonder if their ancestors would be rolling over in their graves for keeping a name that in these times conjures up something more negative.
I do believe wholeheartedly in the Dixie Spirit and appreciate what that means to so many who have been a part of this institution. I would love to see the school continue to grow and flourish so we can share that Dixie Spirit with as many as possible. However, that Dixie Spirit should include wanting what is best for those students at the school now and those who will be coming in the future (including my future Trailblazers).
Thank you for your time and consideration.