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Posted 14 May 2001   For week ended May 11, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 07May01

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 really good."

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

See also:

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

Southern Virginia College provides another LDS university experience


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