By Rosemary Pollock
Knight: Southern Virginia University 'Divinely Inspired'
BUENA VISTA, VIRGINIA -- Southern Virginia University is hoping that
when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints look
for a college to attend, they will think east and not west. Southern
Virginia University, already known as "BYU East," provides an
environment that compares in values and academic standards with their
western rival, Brigham Young University.
With an expected student body of 2,500 in the next 10 years, SVU has
come a long way since its opening in the fall of 1996 with 74
students. BYU Hawaii, Idaho and Provo admit about 14,000 freshman
each year, leaving approximately 66,000 LDS freshman attending
outside of church-related schools.
Church spokesman, Dale Bills, says that SVU does not carry the
official endorsement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, but they do wish SVU continued success. Instead, The Church
sponsors supplemental educational and church programs near college
and university campuses.
"I was the only LDS in my high school, and sometimes I got criticized
for it," said Brian Uzcategui, 18, a sophomore from Palm Springs,
Fla. "So this is great." "I always wanted to share the same values
and morals with others around me."
Southern Virginia University had been in existence for 130 years
before Glade M. Knight, chairman of the school's board of trustees
and a group of LDS businessmen, took over the 150-acre campus. New
owners then redesigned the curriculum, established the same moral
code as BYU and paid off a $4.5 million debt.
"This was divinely inspired," Knight said. "It wasn't a moneymaking venture."
Spokane WA Spokesman-Review (AP) 2Jun01 D4
By Chris Kahn: Associated Press
Southern Virginia University follows Book of Mormon to attract like-minded faithful
Southern Virginia Grows
Southern Virginia College, 'BYU East' Has Success in Sight
Southern Virginia College provides another LDS university experience