ST. GEORGE -- A company hired to research the name of Dixie State College offered recommendations for renaming the school Wednesday night.
The announcement came after the St. George City Council passed a resolution last week saying it wants "Dixie" to remain part of the name of a college that is expected to soon attain university status.
The St. George Spectrum reported that Sorenson Advertising - hired by Dixie State - recommended names based on three circumstances.
According to the company's report: "If the university intends to keep its primary area of service and influence in the local region (considered to be the region where it currently has primary service and influence), then a name for consideration would be `Dixie State University.'"
The second recommendation, St. George University, centers on a national focus. The term "Dixie" would be removed to eliminate any misunderstanding that could be surrounding the term.
If the institution were to expand in a "balanced focus," the names Utah Dixie University or Utah Dixie State University would bring a "wider prominence at a national level," Sorenson said.
Sorenson also said that most respondents to its research supported keeping the term "Dixie." That was met by clapping and cheering from those who attended the final community forum held at the Dixie State College Cox Auditorium.
The paper said that the recommendations will be voted on by the school's Board of Trustees Jan. 18. That choice goes to the state Board of Regents, who will consider the name when they vote on recommending university status. The final step will be approval by the state Legislature.
Dixie State College got its name after Mormon settlers, primarily from the South, tried to turn the warm region into a cotton-growing mecca in the 1800s.
Several public entities that have waded into the name debate that heated up last year as the St. George school sought to become recognized as a university.
About 10,000 students attend classes at the St. George campus, which features a statue of Confederate soldiers and only recently retired the Rebel as its school mascot.
Those who want to keep the name or a variation of it say Dixie is part of Utah's heritage and doesn't have racial subtext among those who have long known the area as "Utah's Dixie."
Other names that have come into consideration in recent months are Zion University, Utah Southwestern University, Red Rock University and St. George University.