Utah Tech University to honor pioneers at annual Founders’ Weekend celebration

Commemorating the day Utah Tech University first opened its doors as St. George Stake Academy in 1911, the university is hosting its annual Founders’ Weekend celebration.

Featuring a variety of events to honor the Trailblazers who founded the institution, Founders’ Weekend is set to take place Sept. 15 and 16. Events are open to the community and free to attend.

The weekend will kick off with the Special Collections Showcase at noon on Friday, Sept. 15, in Room 330 of Utah Tech’s Holland Centennial Commons. Open to the public during Utah Tech’s academic semesters, the Special Collections & Archives library includes rare and unique books, newspapers, photographs and more archiving the history of Utah Tech and Southern Utah.

Later that evening, Utah Tech students will honor the past by camping on Utah Tech’s North Encampment Mall, the location where the pioneers who settled St. George first set up their covered wagons, lived and held school classes.

Founders’ Weekend will continue with the Heritage Cove Ribbon Cutting on Saturday, Sept. 16. The festivities will open with breakfast at 9 a.m. and continue with the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the North Encampment Mall. The event will unveil Heritage Cove, which includes monuments that share about the history of the region and expand campus’s pioneer memorial on the north end of the Encampment Mall. The ceremony will include remarks from Utah State Sen. Don Ipson, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives Brad Wilson, General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Emeritus Steven Snow, local historian and author Lyman Hafen, Utah Tech University President Richard “Biff” Williams, Utah Tech University Board of Trustees Chair Tiffany Wilson and Visiting Librarian for Heritage, Culture & Regional History Chloe Batt.

Immediately following the ceremony, the documentary “Preservation & Progress: The Story of Utah’s Dixie” will premiere in Utah Tech’s Dunford Auditorium at 10:30 a.m. Directed by Phil Tuckett, an Emmy-winning director and Utah Tech University retired professor, the film chronicles the unique history of Southern Utah. After the event, the documentary will be available to watch at utahtech.edu/heritageprojects.

The creation of both Heritage Cove and “Preservation & Progress” were made possible by support from the Utah State Legislature and direction it provided the university’s Board of Trustees to create a Heritage Committee. Chaired by Hafen and Snow, the committee was charged with implementing strategies to preserve the heritage, culture and history of the region.

After the film premiere, the Utah Tech University Alumni Association will sponsor the Scavenger Hunt Rock Challenge across Southern Utah, providing the first clue at 1 p.m. on Sept. 16. The community is encouraged to follow @utahtechalumni and @utahtechu on social media to be the first to see clues that will lead to prizes hidden throughout the community.

“Utah Tech University has grown into an amazing comprehensive university offering active learning experiences in all academic disciplines, career preparation and the traditional college experience thanks to the dedication, commitment and hard work of countless pioneers over the course of a century,” Wilson, said. “We are so grateful to the Utah State Legislature for their support in helping us share our rich history right here on campus and throughout the entire community.”

A full schedule of Founders’ Weekend activities is available at utahtech.edu/foundersweekend.