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Southern Utah University
SUU Academic Logo.png
Motto Learning Lives Forever
Established 1897
Type Public
President Dr. Michael T. Benson
Faculty 223
Undergraduates 6,490 (fall 2007)
Postgraduates 567 (fall 2007)
Location Cedar City, Utah, USA
Campus 129 acres (0.52 km²)
Mascot Thunderbirds
Colors Red & White (Black Accent)            

Southern Utah University, or SUU, is located in Cedar City, Utah. It was founded in 1897 as an extension of the Utah teacher training school by the citizens of Cedar City.

During its history, the school has been known as:

  • Branch Normal School (1897–1913)
  • Branch Agricultural College (1913–1953)
  • College of Southern Utah (1953–1969)
  • Southern Utah State College (1969–1990)
  • Southern Utah University (1991–present)

Southern Utah University hosts the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespearean Festival as well as the Utah Summer Games which is held in the Eccles Coliseum.



In the spring of 1897 the people of Cedar City learned that the Utah Legislature had authorized a branch of the state's teacher training school to be located in Southern Utah.

Immediately upon the Legislative approval of the bill, each of the communities of Southern Utah began appointing committees and making necessary plans to influence the decision of the legislative commission. A petition was framed to the commission setting forth the advantages of locating the school in Cedar City.

There is much conjecture about why Cedar City was selected for the location of the school. Members of the commission publicly said it was because of its central location and its excellent educational record, but privately the determining factor seems to have been that alone of all the towns competing for the school, Cedar City was the only one without a saloon or pool hall.

The community was notified in late May of the commission's action and for the next three months it labored to complete the Ward Hall and make it ready for the first school year. In September, the school opened its doors for the first time.

School had been in session for only two months, however, when the Attorney General ruled that Cedar City's use of the Ward Hall did not comply with the provision of the law which required that the school have its own building on land deeded to the state for that purpose. Furthermore, the Attorney General stated that if a building was not erected by the following September, the school would be lost. Winter had already set in and the town's building materials were nonexistent because of the construction of the Ward Hall. Still, the people of Cedar City set out to do the impossible. Nobody, they argued, was going to take their school away from them, not even if it meant bucking the mountain snows to get the lumber to construct the new building, which, of course, it did.

On January 5, 1898, a group of men, the first of a long line of townsmen to face the bitter winter weather of the mountains, left Cedar City. Their task was to cut logs necessary to supply the wood for the new building. They waded through snow that often was shoulder deep, pushing and tramping their way up the mountains, sleeping in holes scraped out of the snow and covered with mattresses of hay. It took them four days just to reach the saw mills, located near the present day ski resort, Brian Head. Once they got there they realized they had to go back to Cedar City again. The wagons they brought with them could not carry logs through the heavy snows, and it was determined that sleighs were needed to do the task.

The way back was just as arduous as the trip up. The snow had obliterated the trail they had originally blazed and the snow was even deeper. The wagons could not make it and were abandoned at a clearing. It was in this phase of their march that an old sorrel horse proved so valuable. Placed out at the front of the party, the horse, strong and quiet, would walk steadily into the drifts, pushing and straining against the snow, throwing himself into the drifts again and again until they gave way. Then he would pause for a rest, sitting down on his haunches the way a dog does, heave a big sigh, then get up and start all over again. "Old Sorrel" was credited with being the savior of the expedition.

From January through July they kept up their labors and when September 1898 arrived the building was almost completed. It had a large chapel for religious programs and assemblies, a library and reading room, a natural history museum, biological and physical laboratories, classrooms, and offices.


The university's enrollment is 7,509 students as of Spring semester 2007, with approximately 223 faculty members teaching in five colleges and two schools:

  • College of Computing, Integrated Engineering & Technology
  • College of Education
  • College of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • College of Performing & Visual Arts
  • College of Science
  • School of Business
  • School of Continuing & Professional Studies


  • Consumer's Digest: Top Ten Best Value in America (2004, 2007 and 2009) [1][2]
  • National Research Center for College & University Admissions: Ninth best admissions website in nation [3]
  • Princeton Review: America’s Best Value Colleges (2007, 2008, 2009) [4]
  • U.S. News and World Report: America’s Best Colleges [5]
  • Princeton Review: Best in the West (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009) [6][7]


Southern Utah University currently draws students from 45 states, 25 foreign countries, and all of Utah's 29 counties. Of the total enrollment, 58 percent are women and 42 percent are men, a 1.4 to 1 ratio. 11% are of other than caucasian background. About 70 percent of all students live on campus or near the campus. The student-faculty ratio is 22 to 1. The university awards Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, and Master's Degrees.

Student Involvement & Activities

Students have many opportunities to get involved in a number of activities and organizations while attending Southern Utah University. Ranging from the typical collegiate involvement of Student Government and Clubs & Organizations to the uniquiness of the Entertainment Bureau, Leavitt Center, and Outdoor Rec Center.


Southern Utah University Student Association Government

The Southern Utah University Student Association(SUUSA) is governed by the SUUSA Government which consists of four branches (Executive, Senate, Assembly, Activities) governed by four Executive Council members (Student Body President, Academic Vice President, Clubs & Involvement Vice President, and Activities Vice President). These positions are voted into office each March along with two representatives per college to the Student Senate by the general student body. Assembly members are voted into office by Club Presidents during general elections. There are typically two Assembly members per club area for a total of eight delegates. Activity event directors and the President's Cabinet members are not elected into office, they are selected through an application and interview process. All SUUSA student leaders' term of office lasts for one year.

Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service (typically referred to as simply the 'Leavitt Center')the name sake of the center is after famous alum Michael O. Leavitt (Former Utah Governor and George W. Bush Cabinet member). Student leaders in the Leavitt Center engage the student body through voter registration drives, public policy awareness, and public service. The mission of the center is to provide a foundation for student to prepare themselves in a life of public service, regardless of profession and career. Students can receive funding from the Leavitt Center to spend a semester participating in a Washington, DC internship. Internships include positions in the offices of either of Utah senators, Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, in Nevada Senator Harry Reid's office (Reid graduated from SUU in 1959), with the Smithsonian Institution, and with local sports teams.

SUU Presidential Ambassadors

The Presidential Ambassadors at SUU are the students many see on the front lines of recruiting High School seniors, transfer students, and others. Ambassadors give tours of the campus to prospective students, host overnight weekends for prospective students, and provide service to the campus community. The typical Ambassador generally is in their Freshmen and Sophomore years, have served in leadership capacities while in High School, and love to talk. Ambassadors can be found in many organizations around campus as they typically get involved.

Service & Learning Center

Many students that get involved in the Service & Learning Center do so with in the many student-run organizations operated under the philosophy of the service learning concept. Between 50-100 students per academic year spend their Spring and/or Winter Breaks in Mexico or other locations in the U.S. (recently Colorado, Washington state, and New Orleans) providing service to orphanages, schools, and even Habitat for Humanity. Other programs include Sub for Santa, Make A Difference Day, After School Program, and Adopt a Grandparent program. On location in the center is the HOPE Pantry where students can unanimously donate or receive food as needed, the pantry is typically filled through the center's popular Bread and Soup Nite held in the Sharwan Smith Center's Ballroom on the first Monday of each month. Students can also participate in the Service-Learning Scholar and AmeriCorps programs through the center.

Greek Life

There are four recognized Greek service organizations on campus. Two fraternities, Sigma Nu and Sigma Chi as well as two sororities, Alpha Phi and local Delta Psi Omega. Other Greek service organizations are present at Southern Utah University but are not recognized by the United Greek Council, most notably these include Zeta Xi Zeta, Alpha Theta Beta, and Psi Mu Mu.

Other Notable Student Organizations

  • The Hip Hop Club
  • Miss Southern Utah University Organization (Suspended indefinitely)
  • Multicultural Center
  • Black Student Alliance (BSA)
  • Queer Straight Alliance (QSA)
  • Native American Student Association
  • Polynesian Club
  • FEMS (Feminist Education and Motivation Society)
  • T-Bird Team Karate/ RUFF club
  • Philosophy Club


Braithwaite Liberal Arts Center and Old Main

The university's first building, built in 1898, remains part of campus, and is affectionately known as Old Main. The university also boasts the legend of Old' Sorrel, a horse who is said to have assisted the citizens in building the school in record-high snow. A statue of the horse is located in front of the Centrum special events center, on the west side of campus. Consistent with its heritage of educating educators, one in three graduates have an education degree.


J L Sorenson Physical Education Building

The university's sports teams are known as the Thunderbirds. The colors are red, white and black. Teams compete in The NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as division 1-AA) in football (Great West Football Conference) and in Division I in other sports (The Summit League and Western Athletic Conference) SUU also competes in The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, in the Rocky Mountian Region.

The Thunderbirds compete in the following sports:

SUU Fight Song

Fight Song ... "The Great SUU"

We will che-er for the red and white, of our fighting SUU!

Hear our battle cry, echo through the sky, As our team comes blazing through!

They will fight, fight, fight, when they hear us shout, As we sing our victory song.

SUU Football Game We will run, we will score, till the “Thunder Roars”, And the T-Birds win once more!

Go, Go, Go… Fight, Fight, Fight…. Win T-Birds![8]

Southern Utah University Alumni Association

SUU Alumni Chapters & Networks


Iron County, UT, Northeast, Northwest, Salt Lake City, UT, Southern Arizona, Southern California, Southern Nevada, Utah County, UT, Washington County, Washington, D.C. [9]


Boston, MA, Central Utah, Chicago, IL, Davis County, UT, Florida, Fresno, CA, Juab County, UT, Lincoln County, NV, Logan, UT, Michigan, North Carolina, Nebraska/Iowa, San Francisco, CA, Texas, Weber County, UT.[10]

Notable Alumni


External links

Academic Programs

Student Activities & Involvement

Student Resources

Athletic Conferences

Coordinates: 37°40′32″N 113°04′18″W / 37.675448°N 113.071632°W / 37.675448; -113.071632


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to suu article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also süü, and




From Proto-Uralic *suwe. Cognates include Finnish suu and Hungarian száj.



  1. mouth





From Proto-Uralic *suwe. Cognates include Estonian suu and Hungarian száj.


  • Hyphenation: suu
  • Rhymes: -uː
  • IPA: [suː]



  1. A mouth.


Derived terms





  1. see




  1. mouth


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