SUU Kicks Off Year-long 125th Celebration

Published: March 09, 2022 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Old image of Old Main and SUU founders blended with a color version of Old Main todayFor 125 years, Southern Utah University has positively impacted the lives of generations. SUU will begin a year-long celebration of our past, present and future during the 2022 Founders Week, which begins on March 21. The week-long event will celebrate SUU’s founders, the impact our alumni make in the world, and preparing today’s students to be the next generation of leaders.

“This will be a commemoration of our past, a celebration of our current success, and an opportunity to focus on our future,” said Mindy Benson, SUU’s interim president. “From our founders’ steadfast determination to build this campus to a thriving university of over 14,000 students, we’ve come a long way in 125 years. And the best is yet to come. We welcome all SUU alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends to join us for this special celebration.”

Since Cedar City was first selected as the location of the Branch Normal School in the Spring of 1897, the same campus location has been the home of higher education serving southern Utah and beyond.

In SUU’s 125 years, it’s had many names - Branch Normal School, Branch Agricultural College, College of Southern Utah, Southern Utah State College and since 1990 Southern Utah University. It’s mission, however, has remained the same – to provide greater accessibility to affordable higher education opportunities to the region. For the past eight years, SUU has seen unprecedented growth and has led all other Utah universities in the percentage of growth. All while maintaining high academic standards and a commitment to affordability.

Launching the celebration at Founders Week is just the beginning of special events throughout the next year. Spring 2022 events include a concert featuring country music superstars Midland on April 5 and this year’s annual commencement ceremony on April 29. Other commemorative events are still being planned. All special activities surrounding SUU’s 125th celebration can be found here.

Founders Week Events

Monday, March 21

  • Tony's Night - 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall located in the Hunter Alumni Center. Watch re-creations of student favorite theater scenes. Sponsored by the SUU Student Association.

Tuesday, March 22

  • Howard R. Driggs Memorial Lecture: Dr. Allen C. Guelzo will present "Ten True Lies About Abraham Lincoln." - 11:30 a.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall located in the Hunter Alumni Center. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more about Howard R. Driggs.
  • Native American Pow Wow - 7:00 p.m. in the Living Room located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

Wednesday, March 23

  • Lunch on the Main - 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Old Main, ELC Plaza, Library Plaza, Business Building Patio, Founders Monument and the Sharwan Smith Center Rotunda. Enjoy food and stories from SUU's founding.

Thursday, March 24

  • Wood You Like to Be a Lumberjack? - 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Upper Quad. Axe throwing, wood burning, wood chopping and beard contest. Sponsored by the SUU Student Association.
  • Founders Awards Banquet - 6:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall located in the Hunter Alumni Center.

Friday, March 25

  • SUU's 125th Birthday Bash - 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Sharwan Smith Student Center, with a dance from 9:30 p.m. to Midnight in the America First Event Center. Live music, food, activities and much more! Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are invited to attend.

Saturday, March 26

  • SUU Softball vs. University of Northern Colorado - Noon, Kathryn Berg Field.

In 1897 the founders of Southern Utah University believed so strongly in the power of education that they risked their lives and finances for the privilege of building and hosting an institution of higher education in rural Cedar City, Utah. Their determination and grit are woven into the cultural fabric of SUU. SUU’s enduring legacy is built on 125 years of fortitude, determination, and community triumph. Celebrate with us as we explore our rich history and prepare for a bright future.

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