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Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Academics

  1. Photos: Pasta, Prose and Poetry

    March 27, 2015

    Besides the obvious benefit of having a title that can be rearranged in any number of ways to reference the event, Pasta, Prose and Poetry is a great opportunity to have a decent meal in an art-focused environment on a budget. Organized yearly by staff of “The Review,” the university’s literary magazine, the event promotes the exploration of literary ideas and marks the beginning of the season of excitement for the publication, given that it’s about to be released. Between the good food, the close friends and the expressive written art, the experience was phenomenal and one that I wouldn’t suggest that anyone miss next year.

    (Post and photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  2. A Forum All About Love

    February 13, 2015

    Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily everyone’s favorite holiday, but today’s Valentine’s Day forum definitely landed on one of the shelves of my memory dedicated to best forums ever.

    The combination of a hilarious speech and expertly performed musical numbers pretty much guaranteed today’s forum a place in the Forum Hall of Fame. We were fortunate to hear from Dr. Ariel Rodriguez, associate professor of family and child development, my bishop, and a generally stellar person. He spoke to us on the theme “What is Love?” and managed to not only enlighten us but entertain — courtesy of his goofy humor and some priceless Powerpoint slides (you had to be there). Not only did I get to laugh, but I am also now aware of the intricacies of hormones and all of the ingredients to the kind of love that doesn’t last (which includes “blanched romantic comedies,” in case you were wondering).

    We also had the pleasure of hearing multiple musical numbers from the Concert Chorale, students, and an alumna. One of the numbers was a piece from “Mansfield Park,” the original musical by Professor Robert Stoddard and his daughter, Leigh, that opens tonight and that everyone should definitely, definitely see (this is a shameless plug coming from one of the assistant stage managers. I’m only a little biased. A little). Andrew King’s incredible performance of “If Ever I Would Leave You” from “Camelot,” Jasmine Anderson’s energetic “Vanilla Ice Cream” from “She Loves Me,” and Caleb Dransfield and Heidi Glauser’s charming “It Takes Two” from “Into the Woods” were all fantastic, and I wish I could rewind life and listen to them again.

    Overall, today’s forum was a fantastic homage to Valentine’s Day, packed with talent, love, and hilarity  and who can turn their nose up at that? Now, if they’d provided us all with chocolate, that would’ve been cool, too, but it was great nonetheless.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

  3. Alumni Reflections on Southern Virginia

    February 9, 2015

    As alumni of Southern Virginia University, we each have many fond memories of our time in the classrooms of caring professors and the company of cherished friends. As members of the Alumni Association, we have the opportunity to reunite from time to time, give back to the university, and participate in the occasional contest or giveaway. Currently, the Alumni Relations Office is sponsoring a giveaway for alumni who update their contact information on the university’s alumni webpage. Alumni who update their information online before Feb. 28 will be entered into a drawing to win a box of Southern Virginia merchandise.

    Last fall, the Alumni Association sponsored an essay contest and fundraiser for the university’s alumni. The prompt? To write about a Southern Virginia memory or how you view the university 20 years down the road. The winners? Esther Harsh (’13), Stephanie Carlson (’09), and Camden Cooper (’07). If you’re interested in reading about the memories of some other alumni, or what they think the future of Southern Virginia will be like, take the time to read over the following essays.

    A Pattern to Follow

    by Esther Harsh

    Students come to Southern Virginia University with differing levels of desire. Some know exactly what they want, others are torn between the many paths before them, and then some have yet to believe that they merit the chance to walk on a path toward achievement. In every case a mentor is needed.

    On my very first day at Southern Virginia, I was filled with desires and glimpses of the kind of person I wanted to be, yet felt weak in my abilities and experience; constantly wondering how I could use my interests and dreams to make a difference for good. Upon hearing that rehearsals for the new musical were about to begin that same night, I somehow found myself asking the very occupied Professor Stoddard if I could play a part in the production. His told me that auditions had long passed, but was interested in why I wanted to be involved. I was a bit surprised to see that he was sincere in wanting to know my deeper interests and dreams in theatre. After listening closely with a kind smile, he cordially offered me the position of being his assistant director, giving me permission to lead out in areas of the production, with open freedom to give suggestions in directing.

    It was just one small moment, but it set a pattern for me to confidently use in every course. I remember thinking “If one professor is willing to entrust such opportunities in me, maybe the other professors will do the same, especially in the areas where I’ve felt so weak and inadequate.” I began asking each professor how I could get the most out of their class, not merely to get a high grade, but to learn what was needed for the experiences I wanted to pursue after university. The results were magnificent.

    Over time and hard work, the dreams of my capabilities turned into beautiful possibilities. I’m not sure if Professor Stoddard understood how significant that first moment was for me, that by taking the time (out of his very busy schedule) to listen and invest in my potential, I would gain the confidence to create and produce uplifting experiences for the hearts of others. Moreover, I wonder if any of my professors knew how their personal mentoring would lead to a successful completion in a rigorous British graduate program, where unprecedented opportunities would be created and given to this same SVU girl.

    My time at Southern Virginia was marked from the very beginning to cherished end with experiences of caring professors like unto Professor Stoddard: showing and expecting the very best from me, especially when I didn’t feel it was possible in myself. In each experience there is a pattern to follow, a pattern of taking time to mentor the one. Really it is the pattern of the master-servant, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    The education at Southern Virginia University is awe-inspiring because of the many small moments where the professor is helping the student to recognize their own genius, thereby empowering them to see the genius in others. (more…)

  4. First Freedom Center Trip, Essay Competition

    January 28, 2015

    Thomas Jefferson had three accomplishments published on his tombstone:  “Author of the Declaration of American Independence [and] of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom [and] Father of the University of Virginia.”

    The First Freedom Center was founded to celebrate Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom and to encourage religious freedom around the world.  To understand better what the statute is, check out the First Freedom Center’s website.

    As Chairman Glade Knight of the Southern Virginia University Board of Trustees announced at last Friday’s forum, he will sponsor eight students to travel to Richmond to see the First Freedom Center’s new exhibit and spend the night as his guests at his company’s new Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn.  Both Chairman Knight and Provost Sowell have served as members of the Board of Trustees of the First Freedom Center.

    The plan is to travel to Richmond on a Friday afternoon in late February or March, tour the First Freedom Center’s exhibit, have dinner, spend the night, and travel on Saturday morning to the Knights’ Slate River Ranch for lunch on the way back to Buena Vista.

    To qualify (i.e., win a spot among the lucky eight students), you will need to submit a one-page single-spaced essay on the topic:  “What the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Means to Me.”

    Essays must be printed, signed, and turned in to room 103 in Main Hall by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6.  You will also need to indicate your availability for the following dates: Feb. 20-21, Feb. 27-28, March 6-7, March 20-21, March 27-28.  A married student who wins will be allowed to bring his or her spouse.

    Here is the heart of the Virginia Statute for Religious freedom: “… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities …”

    If you have any questions, please address them to Craig Lawhorne (, assistant to the provost.

  5. Lunch in the Library: Discussion on Cuba

    January 26, 2015


    Today, the Von Canon Library hosted the first in a series of lunchtime discussions this semester. The subject of the brown bag lunch was Cuba: People and Policy and began with Dr. Ariel Rodriguez, associate professor of family and child development, speaking about life as a Cuban American. Dr. Rodriguez, who happens to be my dad, is the son of two Cuban refugees, Enrique and Gloria Maria Rodriguez. In his remarks, he spoke of the conditions under which his parents left Cuba and started a new life in America, as well as his own experiences growing up in Southern California. His portion of the discussion ended with a brief question-and-answer session.

    After that, Dr. Jeremiah John, associate professor of politics, spoke about the history of Cuba from a political perspective, as well as what the current diplomatic arrangements between the U.S. and Cuba could mean for both countries. Students, librarians and the two professors asked questions, made comments, and had a lively discussion of the key issues, such as whether lifting the embargo will benefit the Cuban people, how increased tourism may affect Cuba’s economy, and what all of this will mean for Cuban Americans.

    At the conclusion of the discussion, Dr. Christopher Richardson, director of library services, described several new books on Cuba that the library recently added to its collection. I really appreciated this gesture by the library and checked out two of the recommended books. It was a great experience to be able to discuss a current event with knowledgable professors and others, and then to be able to follow up the discussion by learning more through the library’s updated collection of relevant books. Dr. Richardson also announced that the library will hold more of these lunchtime discussions throughout the coming semester. He said that the library plans to host discussions on a variety of topics and not just political issues. I look forward to the next time I can have such an elevated, informative discussion with the campus community.

    (Post by Hannah King ’13. Photo by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)