ST. george – Standing center stage in the Cox Performing Arts Center, Utah Tech University’s president says the campus’s immediate future includes hosting international conferences, large new buildings and doctoral endowments.
Utah Tech President Richard B. Williams said in the university’s annual president’s report that since Dixie State became Utah Tech, the school has begun its “eighth era” in terms of enrollment and endowment.
The State of the University address covered several aspects of Utah Tech’s growth, focusing on growth in numbers and school identity. Here are the highlights of the event, including multi-million dollar plans for the future.
In the year In 2014, then-Dixie State enrolled 8,341 students, Williams said. In the year In 2021, 12,279 students are enrolled at the university, and Williams said more students are enrolled this year, as well as more Washington County residents than last year.
“Although I won’t give you the official numbers,” Williams saidCurrently, we are the largest subscriber in the history of this universityit’s right here in the yard.
After being approved by the Utah Board of Higher Education in July 2022, Utah Tech’s first clinical doctorate in occupational therapy is being reviewed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Last academic year, Utah Tech added nine online degree programs and four interdisciplinary research centers.
2021 to 2022 graduates had 91% career placement after graduation. Among the businesses that have hired Utah Tech graduates are Disney, Chicago Cubs, Yellowstone National Park, Hintonburdick and Zonos.
Moving forward with the school’s polytechnic vision, Williams told the audience that. Utah Tech will host the 2023 World Polytechnic Summit.. Utah Tech representatives attended the 2022 World Polytechnic Conference at the University of Darmstadt in Germany. Utah Tech Provost Michael LaCourse delivered the keynote address and Professor Mena Lier delivered the conference.
With the famous things on the world stage, Williams University will soon have a large classroom. The Utah State Legislature gave the university more than $55 million to build a new 120,000-square-foot general classroom building. The building will open in the fall of 2025 and will have 45 classrooms, 105 faculty offices and 20 study rooms.
“(It’s) going to be a workhorse building for our camp,” Williams said.
Name change process
Williams spent a lot of time explaining what went into the 2021 to 2022 name change process.
“If I look at the history of our institution over the last 111 years, if we look at the different names, we are in our eighth era as Utah Tech University, and each era has been an important part of our evolution as a university. And as a community,” Williams said.
“Sometimes we are faced with very difficult decisions. Last year we went through the name change process. It was a process that took more than two years, a process that many of us didn’t really want to understand, but … we knew there was a new era,” he said.
Over two years, Williams University conducted three major market studies, 67 focus groups, 102 in-depth interviews and 17,704 surveys on the need for a name change.
They included the name “Utah Tech University” in the boxes that the administration believed the university represented, including state name, mission, strong acronym, logo possibilities, diversity and athletic branding. The logo design process itself involved 20 graphic designers, 27 logo concepts, 20 focus groups and 400 participants.
The Utah Legislature appropriated $3 million to rebrand the university.
The university is showing the donation.
Utah Tech received nearly $1 million more in donations this year than last year, Williams said, totaling $3,565,608 from 2021 to 2022, compared to $2,684,776 last year. Utah Tech athletics received nearly $440,000 more than last year’s athletics donation.
During Utah Tech’s Day of Giving in April, the school raised $203,070 for charity and employees donated $29,828 in payroll deductions.
Utah Tech students have received more than $28 million in scholarships, and more than 71% of students have received academic scholarships.
The U.S. Navy has awarded the university $30 million over five years to help Utah Tech students teach children at naval bases around the world for 12-week internships, starting at naval bases in Washington state, California, and Hawaii.
Competition was born again
Williams left the stage and returned, brandishing an ancient iron-headed battle-axe in his hand.
“This Saturday at 6 p.m. an old tradition is about to be revived,” he said. In 1937, a professor of history and a professor of woodworking at this institute decided to create an ‘Axe of Victory’.
Williams explained that when Southern Utah College and Dixie State College play in football, the winning school gets to keep the ax for that year until the next game.
The tradition ended in the 1960s, but now Southern Utah University and Utah Tech University are reviving their rivalry, starting with this Saturday’s football game in Cedar City.
The winning team will carry a new victory ax emblazoned with the Utah Tech logo on one side of their head. The video played for the audience showed Utah Tech’s Brooks the Bison facing off against Southern Utah University’s Thor the Thunderbird in an old-west ghost town, with the new Ax of Victory lying in the dirt between them.
New student center
Over the summer, Utah Tech hired architects and conducted a thorough study of what the university’s needs were for a new student center building. The studies indicated that the university would need a 100,000-square-foot student center at a cost of approximately $70 million.
“We know the Gardner Center has served our students well, but it’s too small to provide the dining space, the meeting space, the types of resources that they need.”
Williams said Paul Morris, vice president for administrative affairs at Utah Tech, and his team created a financial plan to pay for the building, including $10 million raised in private donations. The Mark C. and Deborah H. Bingham Foundation has pledged $5 million to Utah Tech for the project.
“The other fun part is this is a challenge,” Williams said. “They want to help us raise another five million, so they put their five million as a challenge to others, and they help us reach out to people and raise that money.”
Getting to Santa Clara
After last year’s “city alliance” with St. George, providing faculty and students to help study crime trends, create new bike lanes, employ drones to identify water conservation areas and complete a social media audit of the city’s advertising and marketing, Utah Tech will partner with Santa Clara next year.
Williams said Utah Tech will help update Santa Clara’s comprehensive city plan, study environmental impacts along the Santa Clara River, revitalize the downtown business district and prevent further erosion in the city.
Utah Tech has 520 “Question, Persuade and Refer” qualified campus members regarding student mental health and suicidality. Utah Tech has hired two new counselors to help students with mental health issues.
Last year, the Booth Wellness Center served 997 students with medical conditions in 1,917 appointments and the Counseling Office served 609 students in 2,287 appointments.
Over the past year, Utah Tech has implemented the “Come and Meet It” program, a voluntary service for students to opt-in to school text messages and free leftovers from school events and parties.
“Students can sign up, and they’ll get text after the invitation,” Williams said. “They come in, we’ll have a styrofoam box for the food and if they don’t want it, we’ll send a picture of the food.”
While the 534-student Campus View Suites II student housing complex is complete, Utah Tech plans to build an additional complex, Campus View Suites III, to be completed in fall 2024. The new building will house 563 students and break ground. In January 2023.
“(We) thought we could breathe a little bit — we couldn’t,” Williams said. “There are more students who want to come to Utah Tech.”
New Utah Tech school song
Utah Tech hired St. George native Ricky Valadez to write a new original school song. Valadez’s wife, Julie Valadez, is the granddaughter of AK Hafen, who wrote the original Dixie song.
The lyrics of the new song are as follows.
Blazin’ tracks are all we know,
The first to cross where the rest does not go
Fate has prepared this land for heroes.
Red stones call it,
I hear my name,
Step on this shit and you’ll never be the same,
At Utah Tech, it runs in our blood
We are trails,
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