2018 was another year of expansion and prosperity at Southern Utah University. With continued enrollment growth, building dedications, exciting new partnerships and academic accolades, SUU is building upon its reputation of excellence, soaring to new heights.
At the end of this fall semester SUU had a student population of 11,000. In August, we welcomed more than 2,100 new first-time undergraduate students, a 7.69% increase over last year. While enrollment numbers continue to grow, so does the academic quality of these students. The incoming class had an average 3.52 GPA, making them the most prepared freshman class in SUU’s history.
Not only are we increasing enrollment, we are retaining students at the second highest rate in Utah just behind the University of Utah. The foundation for SUU’s success has been small class sizes and faculty who care about the students. The Students Affairs team has also reimagined their approach to engaging with students, completely overhauling the orientation process, first-year experience, advising and peer-mentoring programs.
3 new buildings were dedicated in 2018. Founders Hall, a new apartment-style community housing 320 students, was completed in Spring 2018. The Dixie L. Leavitt Business Building opened in August with study spaces, investment lab, incubator space, an entrepreneurship center and 15 classrooms. And a much-needed sports performance center was dedicated in November that will improve almost 400 student-athletes ability to train and better prepare for game day.
All these projects were made possible because of the vision and generosity of many supportive donors.
A unique and exciting partnership with Southwest Technical College emerged in the spring. Hundreds of hours were spent by faculty and staff at both institutions to build this first-of-its-kind program in America. The newly launched Dual Enrollment Program lets students from either school be enrolled and receive credit at either institution. The program gives students more academic pathways and opportunities for success.
Continuing to make academic improvements and national news is SUU’s aviation program. After years of work, SUU was able to change an outdated FAA regulation for aircraft maintenance training and had a proposed bill pass into law officially signed by President Trump. Now SUU’s aviation program will teach current and relevant information better preparing our students to soar into the industry.
SUU found itself in several national headlines including welcoming the Tour of Utah back on campus for the fourth time, hosting the Utah Senate Debate, and celebrating an academy award performance of a very successful alumna, Keala Settle.
In sports, SUU’s women’s cross country team won the Big Sky Conference championship. And both the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams competed at the NCAA National Championship for the first time in school history. Both teams finished in the top 10% in the country. Last Spring, Men’s Basketball made it into the Semi-Finals for the Big Sky Tournament and Gymnastics qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the sixth-consecutive season. The Thunderbird Athletic Program appreciates all the community support and continues to fly high!
SUU celebrated the 33rd annual Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games this year. As Utah’s premiere summer sports competition, the Games host athletes of all ages and skill levels from across the western United States. With more than 40 different competitive sporting events, the games averaged a total of 9,600 participants, 50,000 spectators, and 1,000 volunteers with those numbers increasing each year.
President Wyatt, along with SUU employees Bill Heyborne and Johnny Oh, taught us all a lesson in pushing oneself out of a life of ease from time to time in order to grow and become stronger individuals when the team completed The Grand to Grand Ultra, a 170 mile, self-supported, ultra marathon. Running for the future Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child and Family Development Center the SUU team raised awareness and support for the project during their journey.
Among a host of accolades, the institution is climbing in national rankings of quality colleges and universities. Notable rankings include, 3 Best of State Awards, The Princeton Review, US News, Wall Street Journal, College Choice and additional badges from Colleges of Distinction. A national recognition from the NSA designated SUU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, the only public university in Utah to receive this award. USA Today also placed SUU as 4th in the nation for rising applications.
We are so thankful for the generosity and support from individuals like you, our T-Bird family. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the tireless efforts of our past and present day founders. Thank you for helping us soar.
Southern Utah University
351 West University Boulevard
Cedar City, UT 84720