Southern Virginia University Has Big Goals and is Growing to Reach Them

By Tomas Schetzel

Photo Credit: Emily Conway

Southern Virginia University has grown by 40% in the last four years and is continuing to grow at an increasing rate.

According to Chris Pendleton, Southern Virginia’s Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing, most of the growth “Has come in the past two years: ten percent last year and 15% this year.” Pendleton also stated that “this growth is in large part due to the leadership of President Wilcox.”

Pendleton discussed how growth plays a part in the school’s long-term strategy. “Our real goal is self-reliance,” Pendleton says, which means the school will not rely on subsidies from the government or donations from private organizations and churches to cover operating expenses. “There are only eleven or so self-reliant schools in the country and we are well on our way to being the twelfth.”

One major factor in drawing students to Southern Virginia is the school’s academic programs. This year saw 115 new students recruited to performing arts programs and more than 250 new students recruited to athletics. “Athletics and performing arts are the driving forces behind our current growth.” Pendleton concluded.

Seth Brown, a veteran of the lacrosse team, said that in the three years he has been here, this year’s team is the largest he has played on, with a final membership of around 40. He also said that many team members are freshmen, “and with them all staying on campus it has improved our team unity a lot.”

A Resident Advisor (RA) who preferred to remain anonymous stated that there are notably more students on campus. “Last year there were so many empty rooms. Now we are struggling to find empty beds! RAs across the board have more people to look after.”

He continued by saying, “I’ve been here four years and in that time it has felt like it has almost become crowded…Housing is a bit of an issue but we are filling every place we can on campus and I am doing my best to know all of my residents even though there are so many more.”

Every change has both positive and negative aspects. As Southern Virginia continues to bring in new students there is a bright future in store for all who attend.