Southern Virginia University: Latter-day Saint values and the 'genius of small'

Southern Virginia University is thriving with its LDS environment, academics, new accreditation

Published: Thursday, June 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"I loved the small classes," said Parker Bird's fiancée, Bethany, who originally came to SVU to play tennis. "I would've gotten lost at a big school. But this was perfect for me. I fit in here. I had a lot of fun with a lot of great people, and I learned a lot academically and spiritually."

Neal Johnson, Bethany's father, said he was a little apprehensive about his daughter attending SVU, since all three of his older children had attended BYU.

"But this was definitely the right place for her," Johnson said. "She's grown a lot here. Her teachers have mentored her. She's had opportunities to do things she never would have done at a larger school. She's matured personally — especially spiritually. As a father, I couldn't be more pleased."

Both Johnson and Bird referred to the many opportunities for participation that are available to SVU students, from student government to intercollegiate sports to performing arts.

"You don't come here to sit on the sidelines," Olsen observed. "This isn't really a place where you can hide. But it is a place where you can be found."

Email: jwalker@desnews.com

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