ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 13Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Southern Virginia College, 'BYU East' Has Success in Sight

BUENA VISTA, VIRGINIA -- Less than five years after converting a failing college into a private Mormon school, the team that runs Southern Virginia College is on the brink of success. The college's student body has quintupled during that time to 375 students, its endowment has increased to $600,000, and the school is on track to accreditation. School officials also say that their success has led to interest in starting other Mormon schools worldwide.

The 130-year-old Southern Virginia College became a Mormon school in 1996 when a group of Mormon businessmen agreed to take over its debts in exchange for stewardship by a new board of trustees that would run the school according to Mormon values. No money was exchanged, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not involved in running the school.

But since then the school has developed a very Mormon character. Ninety-eight percent of the students and 75 percent of the 40-member faculty are LDS Church members. Seventy-eight percent of male students suspend studies at the college to serve LDS Church missions, while 10 percent of the female students serve missions, usually after graduation.

To SVC President Curtis Fawson, it is clear that the school was needed, "There was really a need for this. We have a culture here that provides academic excellence and a spiritual environment where students can practice their religion without fear of reprisal or being put down. Campuses have become very hostile to anything of a religious nature. You hear from students about having to use co-ed dorms, co-ed bathrooms -- that is not an environment where parents want their youth to go to."

Currently, the school offers 10 majors, and the average class size is seven to 10 students. This forces students to participate more in class, says SVC senior John Chapman, "There's more opportunity to participate in class. When you're in a class with only four people, the faculty pressure you to give them more."

The local LDS community has also helped the school improve. Two faculty members are 'shared' with the nearby Virginia Military Institute and one faculty member is retired constitutional-law lawyer Glen Goodsell. Wealthy east-coast Mormons have donated to the school, including $2 million from the Marriott family, $2.5 million from Richmond businessman and SVC board chairman Glade Knight (CEO of Cornerstone REIT, on the Mormon Stock Index), $1 million from retired CSX executive Don Davis, and cash and three free vans from Tony Burns, Ryder Corp. Chairman and before November CEO.

But the school has a ways to go before it can say that it is stable and successful. Full accreditation is still three years away. The endowment, at $600,000, is much smaller than the college's goal of $20 million.

Meanwhile, the college's success to date has led others to ask for help in switching to an LDS curriculum, according to SVC's Academic Vice President John Peterson. "A lot of eyes are watching us to see if we make it. If we do, others will try it."


Mormons building 'BYU East'
Washington Times 9Mar01 D4
By Julia Duin: The Washington Times


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information