Lanora Nielson began her studies at Dixie State University in fall of 2003. She was a first generation student and a returning adult as well as newly single mother of four children ages 12, 10, 8 and 4. She realized that after years of serving her family as a mother and housewife, without a higher education, she had limited options when it came to supporting her young children. Believing that a college education was her best shot at becoming financially stable, she gathered her courage and jumped in with both feet as a freshman, taking all the basics including Math 900 and English 1010.
Lanora joined the returning adult club, N.E.T.O., Never Ever Too Old, and served first as Vice President of Communications, Secretary, Vice President and then as President, helping the N.E.T.O club win “Club of the Semester” numerous times. She also started working part time at Dixie State University in the Wellness Department, responsible for the Tobacco Grant and the Drug and Alcohol prevention SEG-E Grant. She headed the Tobacco Task Force on campus organizing many health fairs and other prevention activities for Dixie State each semester. During this time, Lanora began volunteering to coordinate the Los Angeles Art Trips for the Art Department at Dixie State University. Today, she still serves as the Art Trip Coordinator for these trips where each semester DSU students along with community members visit some of the best art museums in Southern California. When the SIG-E grant ended she was fortunate to move into a secretary position at the Business Department and become a full time staff employee.
Lanora graduated with her Associates of Science in 2006, achieving Cum Laude status with a Certificate in Visual Technologies. During the ceremony Utah’s Governor, Gary Herbert, congratulated her on her accomplishments in his commencement speech. She continued her education in the Communication Department achieving an award for Excellence in Research and Student of the Semester 2008. She graduated in fall of 2008 and attended commencement in spring 2009 with the honor of Sigma Cum Laude and overall Valedictorian of the Communication Department. She now works as the Support Specialist for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC is a department of the School of Business at DSU that reaches out to the community by helping businesses grow and thrive. The St. George SBDC has been number one in the state for the past two years. She loves being a part of Dixie State University, first as a student and now as an employee. Three of her children now attend Dixie and soon her youngest will finish high school and continue her higher education at Dixie State University. Lanora has Red Dirt in her shoes and can’t think of a better education, a better place to work, or better people to work with.