Erastus S. Romney replaced Woodward as College President in
May of 1918. He had come to the College as a member of the
faculty in June of 1916.
Following the appointment
of President Romney, the Academy was accepted by the Utah
State Board of Education as an official Normal College,
authorized to give two years of work leading to the Normal
St. George Stake Board of Education on May 27, 1918,
officially changed the name of the school from the St.
George Stake Academy to the Dixie Normal College.
During President Romney's administration the school offered
60 hours of College level work. He firmly believed that
character building was one of the primary duties of the
College, along with maintaining high standards of
scholarship and efficiency.
was well known for his ability to arouse enthusiasm in a
group of students. He was president for only one year and
one semester. In February 1920, as the worldwide influenza
epidemic became more and more serious, President Romney
became ill of that disease and soon died. He was only 34
years of age.
Following the death of President Romney, Joseph Kelly
Nicholes was made president and served in that capacity
until the end of May 1923.
President Nicholes had originally arrived at the St. George
Academy in 1912 where he taught accounting and related
business subjects. During the summers and through
correspondence courses he completed a Bachelors Degree in
Math, Physics and Chemistry, receiving the degree in 1916.
Following this, he taught only courses in the physical
President Nicholes' son, Henry J. Nicholes, wrote in a
brief biography of his father including the following:
"Throughout his years of teaching and administration at St.
George, he was a capable scientist, excellent student
advisor and enthusiastic supporter of all other fields of
education . . ."
people claimed that he was the most honest and compassionate
man they ever knew. His wife encouraged and supported him.
He had a great love for the people of Washington County.
Nicholes had an excellent mind for finance and since times
were always hard at Dixie, his talent was sorely needed.
His firm leadership allowed the College to remain
kept in close touch with both the students and faculty
members and had a great desire to see people rise above
their present circumstances. He found great satisfaction in
service, both to his God and his fellow men.