Southern Virginia University

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Southern Virgina University, a school for Mormons

Southern Virginia University is a small four-year, liberal arts college located in the Shenandoah Valley at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Buena Vista, Virginia. The core curriculum "focuses on great artistic, literary, philosophical, political, scientific, and social achievements, comparing these when appropriate with insights of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ." The college was privately founded and is not an official school of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it embraces the values of the Mormon Church. SVU has been a college since 1867. It was purchased and renovated as an Latter-day Saint—oriented school in 1996. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute named the university one of the 50 top all-American colleges.

The university is accredited nationally by the American Academy for Liberal Education. It is certified to operate and to grant baccalaureate degrees by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. In 2010 the total student body numbered 746 students from 46 U.S. states and six foreign countries. Ninety-five percent of the students are members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The average high school G.P.A. for incoming students is 3.24. Virtually all of the students receive financial aid.

Majors and minors at SVU include Business Management and Leadership, Computer Science, English, History, Family and Child Development, Liberal Arts, Art, Biology, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Spanish, and Theatre. Other programs include Health Pre-Professionals (pre-med, dental, etc.), ROTC, and Pre-Law. The university sponsors an active program of community service, in which all students participate. The school also has a sports program, and the men's basketball team took the national USCAA championship in 2011.[1]

The honor code at SVU is similar to that of Brigham Young University. "Students uphold the core standards of integrity, chastity, morality, modest dress and abstinence from all forms of pornography, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and illicit drugs."[2]


Paul K. Sybrowsky, who served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2005 to 2011, became the university president on June 1, 2012. He announced his departure on June 18, 2014, and will continue to serve the university as a senior advisor to the board of trustees effective August 31, 2014.

Under President Sybrowsky’s leadership, Southern Virginia set a university record for private donations during its 2013 fiscal year and completed several capital campaign-related projects, including the Harvey-Dryden Softball Field, a new lighting system for the university’s athletic fields, and six new tennis courts. Site construction for a new residence hall was also started.

In addition to his service as a general authority, Elder Sybrowsky has served on the boards or leadership councils of three universities, and was a commissioner of the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. He also founded and headed Dynix, the world's leading provider of automated library services.

Reed N. Wilcox was the university's longest-tenured president, serving from 2014 to 2023. Bonnie H. Cordon, former Young Women general president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was named 10th president effective immediately, university officials announced Friday, October 13, 2023.