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

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

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Roanoke, VA

We love Southern Virginia University!

Bountiful, UT

This article is spot on. SVU is not just a school, it is an experience. The professors are incredible. My first week there, I was waiting in a cafeteria line as a lost freshman. I had no idea that the man standing in front of me, and who started up a conversation with me, was one of the professors. He very sincerely asked how I was getting along and if I needed any help. We had a good conversation and from then on, every time he saw me, he would ask how things were going. It would be three years later before I actually got to be in Dr. MacDonell's history class, but he was "my" professor the moment he took the time to talk to me in that cafeteria line. I love all of the faculty and they are all this committed. I can tell a similar story for almost every professor there. -Thom Stansfield, SVU '06


Is this an advertisment or a news story? The school is a money pit, it is hawking over the church to take ownership and financial responsibilty -- but that will not happen. Overprices and underserved -- the LDS theme means nothing.

Buena Vista, VA

To mightymite: If by "Hawking over the church" you mean that SVU wants the LDS church to take it over, that is absolutely not true. SVU wants to remain private.

Virginia Beach, Va

SVU needs to develop an academic reputation. Nobody has heard of it except members of the Church.

Salt Lake City, UT

Good story and neat place, but perhaps Mr. Bird's previous school wasn't too keen on him attending dental school because he's interested in dental schools that no longer exist. Northwestern's dental school closed in 2001.

Wally West

No disrespect to Mr. Bird but...

Wanting to go to Dental school but majoring in Business Mgmt makes no sense.

Its like majoring in Art History w/ the goal of being a Stockbroker.


Northwestern doesn't have a dental school. It closed over 10 years ago. I don't think he has researched the schools.

Montrose, CO

Seems to me there is always someone who is not happy with or is adverse in attitude. As for me, I wish this school had been available 50 years ago for such as I. I would have probably thrived in the SVU environment rather than finding as a country bumpkin I didn't fit in with the large college mentality. Consequently I went on to be a fairly decent professional musician, and a really good plumber. But I'd have rather been a professor or a doctor or even a dentist, but with any of the prior professions I find a business management degree is vital. So, don't knock the opportunities you have, and good job Mr. Bird. And good luck to all the naysayers. I will try to talk a couple of my grandkids into looking into this school particularly for the values and religious environment, a choice, but a good and solid choice. GO SVU!

Ogden, UT

I was intrigued by this story, so I visited their website. It took about a dozen clicks to find their tuition costs, and now I know why. $19,000/year plus books and housing costs. They tout that 98% of students qualify for financial aid, if a school charges a ton, it's esay to qualify. Also, they advertize that the average aid package amounts to $7100, that sure leaves a lot out of pocket!

This school may be a good fit for some, but you can get small classes in a mostly LDS environment in Utah without the burden of hefty tuition costs. Check out Snow, USU-Eastern, SLCC, Weber State, Dixie, and SUU for small classes at a much lower tuition, even out of state tuition is much lower. And these schools actually have more than 13 majors to choose from!

Belgrade, Serbia

To Wildfan,

You missed the point. You are also not very familiar with alot of other out of state tuition costs. 19,000-7000 = 12000. That is a cheap price for a lib arts college. And I am sorry to say, you may not have had an opportunity to see Southern Va, but Price, Ogden and even St. George ain't it. I am not a proponent of a largely religious school (I am Mormon but went to Weber and The U), but there are things to be said for a school where you don't have to wonder about a girl's/boy's religion, you can just find one you like confident you will mesh well on Sunday morning. A huge obstacle in many places outside Utah. I am from Utah, I love Utah, I often go home to Utah, but many from Utah have to sometimes think outside the parameters of living in Utah.

Let's say you are Mormon and live in Delaware and did not get into BYU, Mom wants to be able to see you on some weekends. SVU works. Oh and you can find a wife. Let's be real.


SVU is a fantastic school. I myself graduated from SVU in 2002 and went on to pursue an advanced degree from Virginia Tech. The school has given me an enormous tool-bag of mental liberal-arts and business skills which I frequently apply to diverse sets of problems. More than that it fostered my love for learning which has been a lifelong treasure.

For a short time I went to BYU and loved it there but I went back to SVU because it was the right place for me to be. I could have gone to many other prestigious schools but I chose SVU and I don't regret my decision for a moment.

The liberal arts background I received there prepared me for many personal, managerial, business, moral, legal, and ethical challenges I have faced in my life. I attribute part of my personal success to the learning I received there. SVU is not right for everybody. It costs a little more than USU, BYU or other schools but the experience is incomparable for the right person. It gave me opportunities to grow in ways I otherwise wouldn't have. It was the right decision for me.


@Wally West

I know many from SVU that were majored in history, business, etc. from SVU and *DID* go on to other professions (such as stockbrokering, dentistry, etc.)

The reality is that even dentists need to have good business practices. Learning the art of dentistry doesn't in fact teach you how to run your own dental practice--but a business degree definitely helps.

Majoring history perhaps doesn't on the surface seem like it would be related to stock-brokering; however, it is surprising that the first stock-market bubble on record was that of tulips in the 1630s Netherlands and studying the that period of time seems to be highly relevant when trying to understand and apply market psychology to modern-day stock markets.

Trade-specific knowledge can usually be acquired fairly easily; however, critical thinking takes a long time to learn. With all due respect, perhaps you ought to broaden your interests a bit. Much of what SVU and a liberal arts education provides is more relevant than you might imagine.

Sandy, UT

Wow, a lot of opinions on the pros and cons of this school. Personally I think I would have loved an experience like this. I went to BYU, graduated summa cum laude, went to Ivy league grad school, etc. but I think I would have "excelled" more at a school like SVU, smaller, more intimate, more opportunities for extracurricular. I'm happy for those who are having the experience now.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

Extremely overpriced for a third-tier college education in my opinion. I went to their website and calculated what a hypothetical person (who does not qualify for aid) would pay over four years and it came out to be $113,373. Ouch.

Leesburg, VA

>>Extremely overpriced for a third-tier college education...

State schools are subsidized by taxes and LDS schools are heavily subsidized by tithing funds. I think most LDS church members don't realize just how much those schools are subsidized...otherwise, BYU at al wouldn't be much cheaper than SVU, if at all. But with financial assistance, SVU isn't significantly more expensive than most other schools, state or private. For example, the nearby University of Virginia--a *state* school--charges $11,794 in-state and $36,788 out-of-state, not counting books, etc.

As for SVU's "third-tier" status, build a reputation and credentials takes time. But for students who want an LDS-school experience but can't get into one of the official Church schools--an increasingly difficult proposition--this is a decent option and I'm glad it's there.

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