The Dixie Stake Academy started under sponsorship of the LDS church in 1895. It began as a high school level institution.
The Dixie Academy building was started in 1909. The LDS church pledged $20,000 toward the construction and the community was to raise $35,000 in labor & materials. The building opened for classes in September of 1911, though some work continue on beyond that.
Eventually, the school became accredited as a junior college. The last two years of high and first two years of college were combined into a four-year curriculum. An agreement was worked out whereby the Washington County School District funded the first the first two years of a student's studies and the LDS church supported the last two years. It took the name, Dixie College.
In 1921, the LDS church began phasing out the church sponsored academies as unneccessary competitors to tax-supported institutions. But the Dixie Academy was spared for a number of years. It even added a two-year teacher training program. But as the Depression worsened, more church schools were closed. On January 31, 1931, the church announced it would stop financial support at the end of the 1930-1931 school year. It did offer $5,000 per year for the next two years to facilitate the transition to entirely state support. A deal was struck whereby the church donated the $200,000 campus to the state and after two years, the state would take over support of the school. During those two years, the school would be operated with the $5,000 yearly contribution of the church, Washington County School District funds, tuitions, and contributions from the community.
For a while, the school was known as Dixie Junior College.
In 1953, a special session of the Utah Legislature passed a bill to return Dixie College to the LDS Church (the original owner). This was widely supported in Washington County, but in 1954, a statewide ballot defeated that move.
Also in 1954, a project was begun to build a women's dormitory for the college, something that was lacking and very much needed. No state funds were available, but the effort was carried out anyway. Trailers were removed by some land near the college. Local funds were raised and mostly voluntary labor was used. The Dixiana Dormitory was completed in 1956.
During the 1955-1956 school year, it was determined that no more land was available to expand the campus downtown. The legislature was ready to appropriate funds for a new building, but no site could be found. So the idea of a brand new campus was considered. A plan was formulated and a new site selected. The Dixie Education Association, which had been accumulating funds for the support of Dixie College, bought six city blocks and turned them over to the state. In return, the state built a new gymnasium there which was completed in 1957 and agreed to gradually move the college over to the new campus. The move was completed by 1963.