Board of Education appointed a committee to look into a possible
new location for the College. They reported that a new site was
indeed available and that the Dixie Education Association and
citizens of the area were interested in helping with the
purchase of this new site and would assist in obtaining title to
As part of
the effort to begin raising funds for the relocation of the
College campus, the property just west of the College
Administration Building on Main Street was sold for $12,000 to
the Washington County School District.
recommendations were made to the State Legislature: to accept
the new site from the citizens of Washington County, at no cost
to the State, and that they should seek an additional
appropriation of $300,000 which would be added to the $200,000
already available, to construct a Heating Plant, Shops and
Gymnasium on the new campus.
Education Association, under President Himes' direction, had
gained title to 32 acres of land on the east side of town, for
about $31,000. Governor J. Bracken Lee signed the site bill for
the new campus in February 1953. Through the leadership of
Senator Orval Hafen, who was president of the Utah State Senate,
the State accepted the land as a gift in return for permission
to relocate the campus.
McConkie recalled the years of Dr. Himes presidency when his
portrait was added to the College collection in April 1982.
"President Himes began his administration at a time when the
fortunes of Dixie Junior College were low. This was not because
of failures of previous administrators, but this low ebb was
just part of that time from 1951 to 1954. The G.I. benefits for
many students were being terminated and enrollments were down.
There was a growing feeling that two college programs within
fifty miles of each other was more than could be justified for
his efforts, money was appropriated for the planning and
building of an Industrial Arts and Vocational Education building
on the new campus. Because of the serious decline
enrollment in this area with termination of the G.I. benefits
and the concern with the isolation of this program from the rest
of the college programs, this money was used to build the
College Gymnasium on the corner of the new campus." This was
the first building to be built on the new campus.
The state legislature passed
same year which proposed that the State transfer Weber College,
Dixie Junior College, and Snow College back to the LDS Church.
However, enough opposition was expressed, especially in Weber
County, to have the question decided, in November 1954, by the
voters of the three counties involved: Weber, Sanpete, and
Church First Presidency made a public statement that the Church
would honor existing contracts and carry out programs at the
three schools just as if there had been no change in the control
of the Colleges. Undoubtedly this crisis was the second greatest one in the
history of the school, exceeded only by the transfer to the
State in 1933.
weeks passed by, much of the local Washington County opinion
seemed to be in favor of transferring the school back to the
Church because of dissatisfaction with the state's inadequate
financial backing from 1933 to 1954. This seemed justified
because during this whole 21 year period, the State erected no
new buildings and it was a continuous struggle to meet
operating expenses. Also, the creation of a four-year school in
Cedar City led many people in the State, legislators included,
to believe that those students who wanted education beyond high
school could go to Cedar City.
annual Dixie Junior College Alumni Banquet, Bruce C. Hafen, a
graduate of Dixie and presently Dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law
School at Brigham Young University, in reflecting back about
this critical period in the history of the College, made this
"If I may be permitted this much of a personal reference, I must
confess to being very surprised and very subdued at what I have
found in reading through my father's correspondence and private
journal on this subject. Orval Hafen was a member of the St.
George Stake Presidency and an officer in the local chamber of
commerce in 1933 the year the Church relinquished control of the
College. He was later the State Senator from this area from
1953 until 1964. Until reading through those materials, I had
no idea how perilously close Dixie Junior College came on
several occasions to fading out of existence, especially in 1933
and in 1953. The strong convictions of this community about the
value of the school made all the difference in those critical
periods. Because the community understood the value of higher
education and was prepared to accept any necessary personal
sacrifice, they would not let their precious school go. As an
act of pure will, they would not let it go."
November 1954 referendum, the voters in Weber County voted
overwhelmingly for continued State support of the colleges by
the State. However, the vote in Sanpete and Washington Counties
was just the reverse with more than 6 to 1 margin locally in
favor of going back to the Church.
process seemed to signal a new life for the College. The local
people, lead by the College Administration, began demanding
greater support from the State.