Celebrated as Dixie State's secondary Homecoming, D-Week's roots can be traced as far back as 1914, three years after the institution's founding, as a chance for Dixie alumni, students, and faculty and staff, as well as the community, to come together in a reunion setting for a week of activities.
This year's celebration centers around the 100th-Anniversary of the block "D" located on the Black Hill overlooking St. George. Constructed in the lava rocks on the hill in 1915, the "D" has served as a focal point of the institution's traditions and storied history.
"Our 'D' on the hillside so bold, cherished emblem of them all," says Kalynn Larson, DSU Alumni Association Director, in quoting the DSU School Song written by A.K. Hafen. "It evokes feelings of welcome, tradition and gives everyone who lives here a sense of belonging. The 'D' continues to elicit strong emotions in the hearts and minds of students, alumni and southern Utahns alike."
DSU will commemorate the anniversary with a special free community pancake breakfast on Saturday, April 18, from 8-9:30 a.m., at the St. George Town Square. The breakfast will include a brief program, featuring performances by the Dixie State Jazz Band and Raging Red, and remarks from DSU President Dr. Richard B. Williams, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, and Dr. Ron Snow, grandson of Leo Snow, who served as the surveyor and led the construction of the "D" 100 years ago.
Following the breakfast at 10 a.m., the DSU Alumni Association will host a special centennial white-washing of the "D" on-site on the Black Hill. DSU will provide free bus shuttle service to-and-from the St. George Town Square to the "D" for attendees who wish to take part in that event.
The full slate of the D-Week events begins on Monday, April 13, with a D-Week kick-off at the Diagonal and Holland Plaza from 8:30 a.m.-12 noon, followed by performances as part of the "Dixie Idol" competition at noon in the Gardner Center Living Room. The opening day activities will conclude with a special "Food Fest" event at the Encampment Mall beginning at 6 p.m. Then on Tuesday, April 14, the annual D-Queen Pageant will be held in the DSU Avenna Center Cox Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets for the pageant are on sale now for $5, at the Avenna Center ticket office. For ticket information, call 435-652-7800 or visit www.dsutix.com.
Wednesday's (April 15) activities include the finale of "Dixie Idol," and a special performance by Magician Joel Ward, sponsored by DSUSA, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the Gardner Center Ballroom. Then on Thursday, April 16, everyone is invited to try to break a world record for "bouncy ball" bouncing at the DSU Hurst Baseball Stadium parking lot starting at 6 p.m.
To many, however, D-Week's signature event is the Great Race, which will take place Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m., at Hansen Stadium. More than 30 ten-member teams, comprised of DSU alumni, students, faculty and staff, and community members, are expected to relay their way across campus by foot, mountain bike, roller blades, water, mud and more.
The inaugural Great Race occurred in 1971, but it origins can be traced back as early as 1964, as a bicycle race around the Black Hill near the airport. The first official Great Race included such events as motocross, horseback riding, and tubing down the Virgin River. Community growth and safety concerns eventually forced the race to the friendly confines of the DSU campus. In addition to the traditional running, biking, and swimming, Great Racers now have to negotiate, among other things, a slip n' slide track, a roller blade course, a Dixie trivia question, and the dreaded mud pit throughout the 10-leg relay course.
Following the Great Race, the annual free D-Week Barbeque and Carnival will be held at the Hansen Stadium south practice field at 6 p.m. All DSU students, faculty and staff, and the community are invited to participate in the Great Race, carnival and concert festivities. For more information on the Great Race or to enter a team, contact the DSU Alumni Office at 435-652-7535.
In addition to Saturday's pancake breakfast and white-washing of the "D," the St. George chapter of the DSU Alumni Association will host a special "Evening of Dixie," which will take those in attendance on a fun look back at the over 100-year history of Dixie, featuring the Raging Red Show Choir, and former members of the old Dixie College's Program Bureau. The "Evening of Dixie" is a free event that will begin at 7 p.m., at the Eccles Fine Arts Center Mainstage Theater.
The program also includes a formal awards ceremony as the DSU Alumni Association will present longtime Dixie supporters Ken and Sherril Newby with the "Dixie Spirit Award," renowned sculptor Jerry Anderson with the "Rebel Award," the L. Leon and Annie Jennings family with the "Community Service Award," and Andrea Barlow Rounds with the "Big D/Roene DiFiore Award." For more information on DSU Alumni events during D-Week, please visit dixie.edu/alumni.
The D-Day Dance will wrap up the festivities later that evening at 9 p.m., in the Gardner Center Plaza, followed by the annual "True Rebel Night" event held at midnight at the Tanner Fountain.
All D-Week activities are free and open to the public to attend, with the exception of the Annual D-Queen Pageant. For more information, contact the DSU Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Jordon Sharp at 435-652-7513 or at email@example.com, Kalynn Larson in the DSU Alumni Office at 435-652-7535/Larson@dixie.edu, or visit dixie.edu.