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Dixie State University Wants New Nickname, Mascot

An alumni entry in the 2014 Homecoming Parade at Dixie State University

Dixie State University has hired Salt Lake City firm Love Communications to find a new nickname and mascot for the school. But the university’s controversial name will remain the same. 

Dixie State officials are paying the public relations firm $50,000 to help solve its ongoing identity crisis. Jill Hall is a spokesperson for the university.

“We know that the community is very tied to the Dixie name and so we will definitely be keeping that,” Hall says. “And then as far as mascot goes, they’re wanting something that’s tied into the Southwest that speaks to what Dixie is and what the area is and something that really highlights what’s going on, on our campus.”

The school adopted the moniker Red Storm and Big “D” the Bull as it’s mascot in 2009.  It was an effort to steer away from the connection the former nickname “Rebels” had to the Confederacy. And in 2013 the school considered doing away with the name “Dixie”.  Defenders say “Dixie” harkens back to Mormon pioneer days when Brigham Young sent missionaries to the region to attempt to grow cotton. Up until the 1990s, the school adopted a full-fledged confederate identity. The yearbook was called “The Confederate”. And only recently was a bronze statue of two civil war solders, one carrying a confederate flag removed from campus.  Hall says the latest decision to swap names has little to do with that controversy.

Aaron Evans is with Love Communications. He says the goal is to find a name, an image and a symbol that the community can feel emotionally connected to.

“In reviewing Dixie State’s research and the initial research we’ve done is there is very little to no attachment to Red Storm and Big D, which is one of the, I think, biggest issues that they're addressing in coming up with a new name and mascot,” Evans says.

Evans says Love Communications will offer several recommendations to the University at the end of the year.  The school will begin the transition in the spring.  

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