ST. GEORGE, Utah — Dixie State University may soon have a new name.
The Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee voted 11-3 in favor of renaming the university Utah Polytechnic State University with an alternative name of “Utah Tech” during a meeting Monday.
That name will move forward to the Dixie State University Board of Trustees for a vote there. If the board agrees, it will be sent to Utah Legislature for final approval. If either the trustees or the Legislature disagrees, the committee will work to come up with another name.
The vote Monday was made after a passionate discussion over two names that emerged from a series of focus group discussions: Utah Polytechnic University and Utah Technological University.
The term “polytechnic” rose to the top from the focus groups, according to Aaron Evans, with Love Communications, a consulting firm that oversaw the focus groups. He recommended the name Utah Polytechnic State University based on the data from the focus groups.
For well over an hour, the committee debated the pros and cons of the two most popular names that emerged. While “polytechnic” was popular in focus groups, the committee was conflicted over the term. Those in favor of the term polytechnic viewed it as more inclusive to the degrees outside of technology. Those opposed to the name viewed the shorthand as confusing and possibly problematic, especially given the state’s past history with polygamy.
That’s why a good majority of the debate Monday went toward a possibly short-hand nickname of the new university, or what it could be referred to more commonly. Those included “Utah Tech,” “UTech,” “Utah Poly,” “UPoly” and “Utah Polytech.”
Shawn Newell, a Utah Board of Higher Education member and the committee’s vice chairman, argued that coming up with a nickname may be out of the committee’s control.
The debate, however, became strong enough that the committee included a note that “Utah Tech” be a suggested nickname of the university within the official school name recommendation.
The committee was formed in March after the Utah Legislature approved a bill to review a possible new school name. Last week, it voted unanimously to approve that the theme of Utah be within its name and voted 13-3 that the theme of the university’s academic mission should be within its name. It also voted 13-3 during the meeting to drop “Dixie” from consideration of the university’s name. The term has been associated with the school in one way or another since 1913.
Evans presented the committee with the results of various focus groups that contained current and possible future students, university leaders and faculty, university donors, local mayors, business leaders and state legislators, which were all considered “key stakeholders.”
Through those, the name Utah Polytechnic University rose to the top with Utah Technological University also viewed highly. Utah University of Technology & Arts, Utah University of Technology & Humanities, Utah University of Technology and Utah Institute of Technology were viewed as the least popular options because the focus group members believed they sounded either too much like the University of Utah or a for-profit trade school, Evans said.
This story was originally posted on KSL.com and will be updated.
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