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Dixie Normal College  Pres. Joseph K. Nicholes


 The discussion to close the College began about 1930 and continued for three years.  The administration at Dixie, Snow and Weber Colleges were repeatedly assured by Church leaders that the schools would not be abandoned until the State could pass legislation to take over the Church schools.

 In a letter read to the faculty on February 18, 1931, Commissioner of Education, Joseph F. Merrill stated that all church junior colleges would be closed by June 1933. 


He gave the following reasons for the closing of the Church Schools:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints was discontinuing its support of the Colleges as part of a wider policy to favor state-supported education instead of parochial and the tremendous decline in revenues of the Church made it necessary for expenditures to be reduced to a minimum.  The First Presidency hoped that they could get by without a reduction in salaries.


 The austerity of the 1929 Depression also bore on the decision to close most of the 22 Church Academies. A crucial moment had arrived for the College.


 Following the announcement, the administration, faculty and the people of the area in general, were not willing to see the school closed.  This cooperative spirit and relationship which existed between the community, school and "The Spirit of Dixie" were all forces which made them decide to fight back.  


Dixie College President Joseph K. Nicholes, Mathew Bentley, and many community leaders were determined that the College should not die and that the State of Utah should become its sponsor. 


 Arthur F. Miles introduced a bill in the Utah Legislature (House Bill 58) to accomplish that. There was considerable opposition. Utah Governor Henry Blood said he would veto any new appropriation because of the severe economic problems in the state. 


 Mathew Bentley undertook a tedious but effective campaign to convince each senator and representative that Dixie College was essential. His quiet and sincere manner won many friends to the cause.  Orval Hafen and Othello Bowman, as well as other community leaders, were influential in the uphill battle. The Governor finally withdrew his objections to State ownership if the bill had no appropriation.