The B.A.C. and Cedar City


The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) has decided to create a series of websites to share the histories of member universities during the Great War. It has been a century since the War began, and COPLAC would like to commemorate the centennial anniversary  by telling the stories of United States colleges and their communities. For the school which became Southern Utah University, the Great War served as the global-political backdrop for the university’s first years as a college. In 1913, lawmakers transformed the Branch Normal School into the Branch Agricultural College, and it is this institution which would become Southern Utah University. The B.A.C. had just completed its first year as a junior college when the first World War broke out, and by 1917 when the U.S. became involved in the war, the B.A.C. and its community in Cedar City, Utah, invested themselves in the war effort with a powerful sense of patriotism. Shortly after the Great War concluded, Cedar City suffered from the Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919, and many of the B.A.C.’s operations were halted because of the devastation of the disease. Southern Utah University’s origins as the Branch Agricultural College are also explored in this website. Publications by students and faculty members, photographs of the community, an extensive first-hand account discussing the struggle against the Influenza Epidemic, and other primary and secondary documents come together to tell the story of the B.A.C.  


1. Gerald Sherrat, “A History of the College of Southern Utah: 1897 to 1947,” M.S. diss., (Utah State Agricultural College, Logan, UT, 1954), 44.

2. Ibid., 45.

3. “Branch Agricultural College” Iron County (UT) Record, September 19, 1913, (March 14, 2014).

4. Janet Seegmiller, A History of Iron County: Community Above Self, (Salt Lake City: Iron County Commission, 1998), 103.

5. Ibid., 105.

6. Ibid., 105-106.

Image header: Campus buildings. 2005. Photograph. Southern Utah University, Cedar City. Web. 7 Mar 2014. <>.