At the Board of Trustees Meeting on May 23, 1953, Dr. Daryl Chase, then director of the Branch Normal School, and Edwin L. Peterson, representing students, faculty and civic groups, presented a formal petition requesting that the name of the college be changed to College of Southern Utah, a name that better reflected the history and mission of the institution.

On June 27, 1953, the trustees approved the measure calling for the name change, with only one dissenting vote. In making the announcement, they stated that the new name more clearly designated the service that the college rendered to the people in Southern Utah.

During the next twelve years the College of Southern Utah began to expand in anticipation of becoming a 4 year independent college. Dr. Royden Braithwaite was hired and began to work on the state legislature towards this end. In 1965, at the end of the legislative session, SB209 was passed 25 to 0 for the College of Southern Utah to become an independent four-year liberal arts college.