By Deborah Carl
Southern Virginia Grows
BUENA VISTA, VIRGINIA -- Southern Virginia College, which opened in
1996, has earned its nickname of "BYU East." While the school is not
officially associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, the school was organized by Mormon businessmen, and 98
percent of the students and 75 percent of the faculty are also
members. Along with Brigham Young University, SVC enforces a moral
code of no coffee, tea, cursing, cheating, tobacco, alcohol,
pornography or premarital sex. Professors regularly entwine church
teachings with academic material and lead students in prayer.
The school started with 74 students and has grown to 420 students
from 43 states. The school offers nine liberal arts programs and
participates in baseball, wrestling, track, volleyball, basketball
and soccer. Freshman John Michener, 19, of Catonsville, Maryland,
said he wanted to continue his wrestling career in college but only
with other Mormons. "Here, I won't have to worry about the drugs and
alcohol, the partying -- you know, the locker-room stuff," he said.
"This was the dream of what could happen if everything went right,"
said Academic Vice President John M. Peterson.
At first residents of the town of Buena Vista were wary of the influx
of college students, but the students have been and asset to the
community and can be seen around town participating in various
service projects. Mayor Harold F. Kidd said he' like to see the
students stick around after graduation. "They're family-oriented
folks," he said. "And their potential to develop business here is
The Mormon culture is very strong at SVC - 17 college couples got
engaged last semester, and 20 married couples now attend classes.
Close to 80 percent of male students and 10 percent of female
students serve full-time missions for the church.
While church officials in Utah do not endorse the college, they wish
SVC well. Southern Virginia hopes to be a fully accredited college in
three years. In ten years, officials expect a student body of about
2,500. SVC President Curtis Fawson is very pleased with the progress
the school is making and is trying to raise the endowment from
$600,000 to $20 million over the next five years.
Mormons build 'BYU East" at Southern Virginia College
Washington Times Insight on the News pg32 7May01 D4
By Julia Duin
College Reborn as a Mormon Institution
Washington Post pgVA29 (AP) 26Apr01 D4
By Chris Kahn: Associated Press
Southern Virginia College, 'BYU East' Has Success in Sight
Southern Virginia College provides another LDS university experience