Dixie State University celebrates D-Week 2022 with traditions, new events

Bringing the community together to celebrate Dixie State University’s long history of offering educational opportunities and community enrichment, Southern Utah will celebrate D-Week 2022 from April 4 to 9.

Signified by the “D” on the hill glowing red, the 108-year-old tradition of D-Week is similar to Homecoming but brings its own set of activities to the university’s spring semester.

“D-Week is an incredible opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate the courage, tenacity and grit that not only St. George and Dixie State University were established on, but also are still alive and well today,” Sarah Ramaker, assistant director of student involvement & leadership at DSU, said. “I personally love the opportunity to teach our current students about the longstanding traditions we have here at DSU at the end of the academic year.”

D-Week will open on April 4 with the new event, Leave Your Mark on Dixie. Set to take place at 7:30 p.m. on DSU’s Palm Street, this event will provide an opportunity for participants to leave their handprint in red paint near the Holland Centennial Commons. The event will also feature a farmers market complete with vendor and food booths.

The festivities will continue on April 5 with the 100th anniversary of the D-Queen Pageant, one of D-Week’s longest-running traditions. DSU students will take their talents to the spotlight as they compete for the title of D-Queen. The pageant begins at 7:30 p.m. in the M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center, and admission is $10.

The Great Race, another longstanding tradition and one of D-Week’s most popular events, is set to start at 5 p.m. on April 8 in Greater Zion Stadium. Dating back to a 1960s bike race through St. George, the Great race morphed into a 10-person relay team that included motor crossing, horseback riding across Foremaster Ridge and tubing down the Virgin River in the early 1970s before it moved to campus in 2000. In its current form, the Great Race still features relay teams of 10 as they run, pedal, swim, scoot and slide their way through the infamous mud pit to the finish line. All ages can join in the race, and community members are encouraged to participate. Pre-registration is required.

Following the race, the university community will celebrate the establishment of the Trailblazers identity and Brooks the Bison mascot six years ago with Brooks’ Birthday Carnival. Featuring activities, games, prizes and food, the carnival is set to start at 6 p.m. on April 8 on DSU’s South Encampment Mall.

D-Day, the Saturday of D-Week, will start off with the tradition of whitewashing the “D” on the hill. Students and community members are invited to meet on the hill at 8 a.m. on April 9 to join in the singing of the school song before adding a fresh coat of paint to the “D” overlooking the community. Breakfast will be served by the Alumni Association afterward.

Later, the Evening of Dixie banquet will be held at 6 p.m. on April 9 on the third floor of the St. George Children’s Museum, the former Dixie Academy Building. As part of the celebratory evening, the 2022 alumni awardees will be honored. This year’s honorees are: Shauna Ottesen, Community Award; LaRee Jones, A. Delmont Truman Dixie Spirit Award; Hilda Cox Empey, Roene B. DiFiore Program Bureau Award; Kenny Miller, The Rebel Award; and Stephanie Sparks, Outstanding Trailblazer Award. Tickets are $25 and available at utahtech.edu/evening through April 2.

As DSU prepares to transition to Utah Tech University on July 1, the “D” on the hill will remain an important landmark in St. George, as the university is working to get the “D” added to the National Register of Historic Places to ensure it remains an honored symbol for the entire community. Additionally, the celebrations of D-Week will continue with a spring traditions week for years to come. For more information about Dixie State University’s D-Week 2022 events, visit utahtech.edu/dweek.