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Dixie State College Becomes a University and Sticks With Traditional Name

Lawmakers have approved Dixie State College's bid to become a university and stick with its traditional name despite concerns about racial insensitivity.

The Utah State Senate approved the measure Wednesday morning on a 26-0 vote. The house approved a bill earlier 68-6.

Last month the Utah Board of Regents also approved the name change and university status.

Bill sponsor Representative Don Ipson, Republican from Saint George, called the move a "key economic driver" for southern Utah, saying that the university classification would draw more students from in and out of state.

Dixie has been a nickname for the Saint George region since the 1800's, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent pioneers, including former slave owners there to grow cotton.

The bill now awaits the governor's signature.