Dixie State, sculptor agree on future of ‘The Rebels’ statue

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University officials announced Tuesday in a press release that the institution and local artist Jerry Anderson have reached an agreement regarding the future of the “The Rebels” statue that had been on display on the campus until Dec. 6, 2012, when it was removed in the face of mounting controversy over its Confederate theme and what that implied as the school moved towards university status.

Read more: Confederate soldiers come tumbling down; Dixie State College feeling the heat?

Under the terms of the agreement, DSU has returned the statue to Anderson, who is the artistic rights holder, the university’s press release stated. The statue has been delivered to Anderson’s personal studio in Leeds and, in turn, Anderson has agreed to donate other artwork to the university for permanent display.

“We are very appreciative of Mr. Anderson’s generous artistic contributions, not only to Dixie State University, but to the entire region,” DSU President Dr. Richard B. Williams said. “We are grateful to Jerry for working with us and we look forward to displaying his work on this campus for everyone to view and enjoy in the years to come.”

In 1982, Anderson created a small sculpture, “Retreat,” that was inspired by the song “Two Little Boys,” written by Theodore F. Morse and Edward Madden, which tells the story of two little boys who grew up and were reunited as Union soldiers (boys in blue) on the battlefield during the Civil War.

In 1983, Anderson was commissioned to create a life-size monument with the same theme; this time the two soldiers would be from the South, which tied the piece to Utah’s Dixie.

The reason I created it was one man helping another,” Anderson told St. George News, “and for the Rebels in the ’80s that’s what it was created for, their mascot.”

Confederate themed statue removed from Dixie State College
Confederate themed statue removed from Dixie State College. St. George, Utah, Dec. 6, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

The monument was first installed at the Green Valley Mall and later donated in January 1987 to the original Dixie Convention Center then located on the Dixie State campus. In 1993, Dixie Convention Center operations were moved into its current facility, the Dixie Center St. George on South Convention Center Drive. The statue, however, remained on the Dixie campus.

As Dixie State began its final push toward attaining university status in 2012, which included discussions about rebranding the school, “The Rebels” statue became a focal point of contention in regards to the future identity of the institution. In an effort to protect the integrity of the statue, Dixie State’s press release said, school officials had the sculpture removed from campus in early December 2012.

Anderson told St. George News he never expected the statue to create such controversy.

It was created in behalf of the people in all the wars, don’t matter what flag it’s got,” Anderson said. “The base and the heart of it was one man helping another man in the field of battle.”

The flag itself is meaningless, he said, adding that people make political correction to everything.

“There’s controversy over everything,” he said. “If that flag was a German flag it’d be the same, sometimes if it’s an American one, it will be the same.”

Soon after the statue’s removal from campus, a question arose as to who the actual owner of the statue was, Dixie State’s press release said, whether it was the institution, the City of St. George, Washington County, Dixie Convention Center, or the original donors of the artwork to the convention center. Dixie State officials placed the statue in storage until the ownership issue was resolved. It was determined later that month that Dixie State was indeed the legal owner of the statue, the statement said.

Since then, school officials and the DSU Board of Trustees considered all possible options pertaining to the future of the statue before reaching its agreement with Anderson.

“I want to sincerely thank President Williams, (DSU Trustees Chair) Dr. Christina Durham, and (Trustee) Gail Smith for their time in meeting with me and for the care they showed in bringing this to a mutually beneficial resolution,” Anderson said. “I invite everyone to please come out to view the statue, take pictures of it, and enjoy it.”

Anderson’s studio is located at 2002 Wells Fargo Road in Leeds. The statue stands about 100 yards north of the Silver Reef Museum at the Wells Fargo Express Building in the Silver Reef area of Leeds.

“It’s here for people to enjoy,” Anderson said, “and I hope they do enjoy it and not harm it anyway.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • Evil Twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Sounds like a good deal all around looking forward to his next project. I enjoyed the statue and the work that went into it. But I also see DSU’s point of view and the decision they made

  • Little Dillinger January 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I like the statue also didn’t want to see it go. but times change and hopefully for the best

  • koolaid January 13, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Yeah, an Ss soldier waving a Nazi flag wave as he reaches for a Jewish boy would’ve been very symbolic with good meaning and representing early area settlers with German roots and of that lost tribe of Israel. Everyone would have had tingling touchy goody vibes about that. SEIG HEIL!

  • Maggie January 14, 2015 at 8:20 am

    So very sad that we have to cater to folks that will not read history,learn, then use this knowledge to make the world a better place. Nope they really do believe erasing history is the better answer to avoiding mistakes made in the past. It also detracts from what is happening now .
    Perhaps we should destroy the Liberty Bell and the Viet Nam Wall and pretty much all of the Smithsonian and the Holocaust Museum and all that has to do with 9/11.
    Some citizens just cannot deal with the facts that the birth , life and preservation of anything good is not perfect , just like the people who are living it.
    However,facts should matter,the truth should matter. Even if some feelings are hurt. We should not strive to be like the weakest among us but instead look for that which builds character and strength. That would be knowledge and logical thinking. I think it is a shame a University like Dixie would not realize this and stand up to those who choose to hide the truth.

  • MomsForDancing January 14, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I am a little unsure of why people call a statue added to the campus in the 1990s history? The name Dixie certainly is ingrained into the area’s history, and came about for innocent reasons. But the connection with Rebels and many things Confederate are much newer than the pioneer’s Dixie, say the 1950s. So while Dixie is part of our pioneer heritage and deserves respect, the Dixie Rebel culture of the fifties and sixties deserves no more than the Hippy culture of the 1960s.

    • NCAA History January 14, 2015 at 11:03 am

      The “Rebel” name and mascot were not associated with Dixie until the 50’s, at a time when the Equal Rights movement was in its infancy. The school colors were originally blue and white, and they were the “Flyers” (the team colors and mascot of the high school). How is something that began in the 1950’s (during the equal rights movement) representative of the origination of the college and a town a century before? Did people create this heritage in the 1950’s and claim it as having always been its tradition? Also, one should research NCAA history, the boycotts of athletes involving games with BYU because of the racist and hateful behaviors of BYU players and fans toward them as well as the mormon church’s discriminatory practices. Research the Wyoming Black 14 incident (1969), Bob Beamon (1968 Gold Medalist) boycott of BYU track & field events as well as many other college sporting contracts that faced cancellation due to the very nature of racist attitudes and behaviors focused at them when playing at BYU. Many games resulted in violent responses when BYU traveled to away games. Anyone who claims mormons were never discrimatory toward blacks and that all is good has not studies past history. Look up on the internet about NCAA boycotts against BYU from the 60’s & 70’s. Dixie College was viewed as a step toward BYU, and one can only guess the behaviors present at BYU were also apparent at Dixie College, maybe even more so.

    • Maggie January 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Mom……yesterday is history!

      • HERD January 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

        So is the statue. Past history. Bygones. Get over it and move on.

  • JW January 14, 2015 at 9:32 am

    A bunch of progressive lefty university people have came to st george in the past couple years. Sad to see this happen to st george. Let’s put up an Islamic statue, that will make the 1% happy .

  • Bob Carter January 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I am dismayed, no dismayed is not strong enough. I am appalled that Dixie State administrators caved to the PC police and had the statue removed. I was born and raised in the South and I have a heritage that is being attacked and removed from history. I won’t go into a long epistle concerning this, but only predict it won’t be long before Dixie State will be forced to change it’s name due to it’s “focal point of contention”.

  • My Evil Twin January 14, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Naduald was willing to do ANYTHING for ANYBODY to get what he wanted. It is really a shame, and he should be ashamed, that he didn’t have big enough eggs to stand up to the idiot crybabies. If people make up their mind to be offended, then that is their problem. Don’t try to make it everyone else’s. Pull up your big girl panties and get on with your life.

    • Evil Twins Mommy January 15, 2015 at 2:01 am

      SHADDUP Stupid

  • HERD January 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    When did the Confederate heritage begin? Did the early settlers come to this area with Confederate soldiers and Confederate flags waving? Was the college always a Confederate college since the day it began? If someone put up statues of Teletubbies on the campus, would Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po suddenly become part of St George’s heritage since it was founded?

    • MomsForDancing January 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Exactly, the Rebel mascot is really betraying the true heritage of Dixie. For some reason all the baby boomers (now in charge) think their version of history is the true heritage of St. George, which it is not.

      • HERD January 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm

        You mean the heritage and history they created in the 1950’s, not the original pioneer history and heritage that began in the 1850’s or when the city was founded in 1861?

    • Maggie January 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      I am sure that the Teletubbies would offend someone. Actually I am sure they would. For I am convinced that some wake up in the am and pick what is going to offend them that day. I have said it before and I will say it again…..volunteer,take a course a DIxie U ,get a job,fix up you house,read a book and for Pete sake look around you,read the newspaper and try to understand that we are all pretty fortunate to live here. Rich or poor we have the same views and weather and really folks St George people are some of the niciest people I have met of all the places I have lived. They actually do help those in need. They evidently worked on improving before I came here and it is a constant from what I can see.
      I get moving to escape a place you dislike or are not comfortable living. I did that ,and I picked St George after looking at a half dozen places. I actually do advise that others do the same until they find that place and if after a move or two you are not happy…perhaps it is not the place/places you live.
      However if I had to wake each day and had to look for something to whine about,I am betting I could find it., especially so if Herd really does do the Teletubbie thing .

      • Hmmmmm January 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm

        In St George you have some of the meanest and most biased old rattlesnakes who’d strike out at you in an instant.

        • Maggie January 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm

          Never been bitten but I have been smiled at.

        • Evil Twins Mommy January 15, 2015 at 7:26 am

          You must mean like Evil Twit.

  • FYI January 14, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Hey Reb, the hat-wearing, square-chinned, mustachioed mascot, isn’t a rebel of the Confederacy. Why are the UNLV sports teams represented by a Confederate rebel?

    Because the they have big enough eggs to stand up to the idiot crybabies.

    • Hmmmmm January 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      I don’t see any Confederate Flags waving on the UNLV website nor any photos of mock slave captures and auctions nor any students with black faces or parades with participants mimicking blacks in the hateful and derogatory way that was done at Dixie. Can you?

  • cotton picker January 14, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Seriously should have kept the Rebel nickname, and gotten rid of the stupidest sounding “university” name in the U.S. Dixie State. Sounds like a bunch of dumb hillbillies.

    • koolaid January 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Don’t insult hillbillies like that

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