ST. GEORGE -- Trustees for Dixie State College recommended a new name Friday for the St. George school that's aspiring to become a university.
The recommendation was "Dixie State University" by a unanimous vote of the trustees, The Spectrum of St. George reported.
The name change goes to the Utah Board of Regents, which will meet Jan. 25 at Dixie State. Final approval awaits action by the Utah Legislature.
Some say "Dixie" - with its Old South connotation - should go. But many in Washington County opposed ditching the traditional name.
The debate has ignited community passions for months.
Dixie has been a nickname for the St. George region since the 1800s, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent pioneers - including former slave owners and drivers - there to grow cotton. It was that history that had some students, professors and state educators calling for a name change.
However, a recent survey of public opinion found overwhelming support for keeping "Dixie" part of the school's name.
"We unanimously stand behind the university name," Steven Caplin, chairman of Dixie State's board of trustees, said Friday. "No one on this board or in this administration is aware of any racial discrimination in our past."
Trustees also approved a resolution Friday supporting the college's elevation to university.
About 10,000 students attend the St. George campus.