Southern Utah University is a small, public institution focused on the liberal arts and professional programs. Founded in 1898 as a normal school, the 19th century version of a teacher’s college, SUU has been through many phases, from normal school to agricultural college to full state college. Today, SUU is an 8000 student-strong master’s level university ranked the highest in the intermountain region by U.S. News & World Report, and known for their education excellence and affordability. SUU has been named a best value nationally and regionally by the Princeton Review, Consumer Digest, and others for their balance of quality and cost.
Academic ProgramsWith its relatively small student body, SUU is able to give students a high degree of personalized attention and student support, more like a small liberal arts college than a large public university. However, students at SUU get the kinds of options and resources that only a major public university can provide, including more than 140 undergraduate programs in all areas, fields, and disciplines. In addition to more conventional liberal arts areas like education and the humanities, and professional and pre-professional programs like engineering, health science, and business, SUU offers majors that are very specific to the Utah and western region, including highly respected Aviation and Outdoor & Environment majors.
Service learning is also central to SUU’s academic profile. Five centers administrate and lead student outreach efforts, including the Community Engagement Center, Creative Engagement Center, and the Outdoor Engagement Center. Further, the Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, which serves as an interdisciplinary center for research, service, and experiential learning. SUU’s commitment to the community has not gone unnoticed, as the university celebrated four straight years of recognition on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Student LifeAs in all of Utah, outdoor life and activity is a deeply ingrained part of SUU student life. Southern Utah is proudly located smack in the center of the highest concentrations of national parks in the US, with ski resorts, Lake Mead, and even the Grand Canyon all just a day trip away. Students take part in many activities like mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and camping, often with student-organized clubs and groups. For over 25 years SUU has also hosted the Utah Summer Games, a major Olympics-inspired event for regional athletes.
Other student activities include 160 clubs and organizations, including highly unusual groups like the Ladies’ Rugby Club and the Quidditch Club. Greek life is smaller than at other colleges, but highly involved in community efforts. The Thunderbirds Division I athletics includes award-winning track & field and gymnastics teams, a competitive rodeo team, and a Big Sky Conference football team, the 2015 division champions.