The convocation’s theme, entitled “Our Traditions…Our Future,” will feature addresses President Williams and DSU First Lady, Mrs. Kristin Williams, along with remarks provided by DSU Student Association (DSUSA) President Gregory Layton. In addition, Dixie State alum and 2010 Miss Nevada Alana Lee will deliver an inspirational address to DSU students as they begin the 2014-15 academic year.
In addition, a number of St. George-area clergy representatives will be in attendance, along with local government leaders, DSU administration and Board of Trustees. The program will also include inspirational songs and performances by students and faculty from DSU’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams was announced as the 18th President of Dixie State University this past July 17. Prior to his arrival at DSU, Williams served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University. Previous to his appointment as provost and VP, Williams was the founding Dean of ISU’s College of Nursing, Health and Human Services, for which he led the development of six new degree programs designed to address the state's critical shortage of healthcare workers.
Williams also served as an associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was a faculty member, executive associate director of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, and chair of the Division of Athletic Training. At UNI he helped create a private-public partnership between the local hospital, medical community, and university that resulted in the construction of a two-story human performance center that served the surrounding rural communities. Williams holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Lifestyle Management from Weber State University, a Master’s in Athletic Training from Indiana State, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.
Kristen Williams has worked in the physical therapy field for more than 21 years. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Utah in 1993, and a Master’s degree in Exercise Science at Northern Iowa in 2007. The Williams’ are parents of five children – Bailee (18), Elly (15), Braden (13), Peyton (11) and Rowen (8).
Alana Lee graduated from DSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication in 2013. A former Miss Dixie Homecoming Queen (2009), she was crowned Miss Nevada in 2011 and advanced to the 2012 Miss America Pageant, becoming the first DSU student to ever compete at the storied pageant. Since her graduation, Lee has returned to her hometown of Las Vegas, where she operates her own marketing consulting firm and works as a licensed realtor.
Gregory Layton enrolled at DSU during the 2010 fall semester. He has served with DSUSA since 2012 as a committee member, and was the vice president of academics for the 2013-14 academic year prior to his election as DSUSA president last spring. In addition, Layton served as a staff writer for DSU’s Dixie Sun newspaper. Layton hails from Holladay, Utah, and is a 2007 graduate of Cottonwood High School. He is an English major with an emphasis on professional and technical writing. Layton plans to attend law school following his graduation from DSU.
DSU President Emeritus Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld introduced the convocation as a new campus tradition in 2008, as a way to establish a four-year culture at Dixie State, noting at the time that these types of non-denominational gatherings go on at other college campuses throughout the country and have an inspirational flavor to them.
For more information on the convocation, please contact the DSU Public Relations office at 435-652-7544.