Dixie State University began as a small academy in 1907 and, after going through some major difficulties, has become a very successful university that provides education for thousands of students yearly. The success of Dixie State University is because of the trailblazing citizens of St. George. Their sacrifices, perseverance, and community support were what made the institution possible. They helped the school grow from a two-year academy for youth to a continuously growing university that offers Bachelor’s and Master’s Programs. Because of the faithful trailblazing citizens of St. George, Dixie got through a split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to a State-run school. They began the school in the harsh desert, got through a depression and two world wars. Their story is the story of Dixie State University.
The school was first created and funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members. The creation of the Dixie Academy was through the Stake Board of Education. They funded most of the project and then took donations from the members of the church. Eventually the school was expanded to include a building for the two-year college program. The people of the area contributed money donations, food and produce that could be spared, and they donated nearly all the labor involved in constructing the new building. When the school was transferred over to the State of Utah, it faced potential closure. The people of St. George rallied together to get support for their little junior college. They eventually got enough support and the state got them enough funding to keep the school open.
Dixie State was built on the site of the first settlers of St. George called the Encampment mall. Those settlers suffered through harsh desert conditions, disease, and depression. Through their sacrifice and determination St. George itself was established and eventually the Dixie Academy. The process of creating the monument for those settlers represents the heritage that they passed on. It was built by the financial contributions and donations of the community. The labor to build it was provided by volunteers from the community and the school. The students also provided trees and bushes to plant on the memorial.
Since the building of the new college campus there have been many new additions and expansions. New buildings include the Eccles Fine Arts Center, art department in old Harmons Grocery, expansion of student housing, health sciences building, Holland Centennial Commons. A campus branch was built in Hurricane. The entire campus has been computerized which includes student computer labs, the library, and classroom computers. In 1999 they achieved the status of University and enrollment grew all the way to 9,000. As of 2019, 9,950 students enrolled, 57.2% of them being women. They have the status of being the most affordable in-state tuition in the nation. They have 4 Master’s Degrees, 22 certificates and endorsements, 45 Bachelor’s Degrees, 42 minors, and 11 Associate’s degrees.