Dixie State University students have seen the inauguration of 17 presidents in the last century — Thursday President Biff Williams will become the 18th.
Students, faculty and staff and community members have been invited to Williams’ inauguration Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Burns Arena. During the ceremony, university figures and community officials will gather to acknowledge Williams in accordance to the ceremony’s theme, “We Are Dixie,” said Christina Schultz, the vice president of institutional advancement and chair of the inauguration ceremony.
“We have only installed 18 presidents in the last 103 years of this institution, so it doesn’t happen very often,” Schultz said. “But when it does, it’s very special, and it’s a celebratory event for the campus and for our community that we serve.”
Prior to the formal investiture of Williams and his inaugural address, prominent figures will speak in Williams’ behalf, including Student Body President Gregory J. Layton, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, and chairs and presidents of various institutional boards, such as Hal Hiatt, the DSU Alumni Association president, Nate Staheli, the DSU Faculty Senate president, and Daniel Campbell, chair of the Utah Board of Regents.
Schultz said Williams selected the ceremony’s theme of “We Are Dixie” because as an “inclusive and collaborative leader,” he welcomes and encourages involvement from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members alike.
“In line with the inauguration theme of ‘We Are Dixie,’ my hope is that celebrating this event during our Homecoming Week will serve as a way to unite the university and community,” Williams said in a statement. “We are the community’s university, and I would love to see St. George go from a great college town to a phenomenal university town.”
In addition to featuring performances from the DSU Chamber Singers, the DSU Symphony Orchestra and the Herald Trumpets, the inauguration will also include the unveiling of DSU’s new mace, a ceremonial staff that symbolizes institutional authority, Schultz said. The new mace marks Dixie’s shift from college to university, she said.
“It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony, and we welcome everyone to come and celebrate with President Williams and his family,” Schultz said.