Seven Important Announcements for Fall 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Friends,

The 2017-18 academic year promises to be one of the most exciting in our history. I am thrilled to share with you seven important announcements for the upcoming Fall 2017 semester.

1. 15% Enrollment Growth this Fall

  • Southern Virginia will grow +15% this year, on top of +10% last year.
  • Southern Virginia is now one of the fastest growing fully-accredited residential universities in the United States.

Last year, we commemorated the success of the first 20 years with the visit of Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on assignment from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Last year, we also grew enrollment by 10% to include a record number of students and faculty, and added important new majors, concentrations, music groups and athletic teams.

As more people learn about Southern Virginia, more great students and excellent faculty choose to come here. U.S. college enrollment has been flat the past four years. This fall, enrollment at Southern Virginia will grow another 15% over last year, up almost 40% since 2013-14. Southern Virginia is now one of the fastest growing residential colleges in the U.S. We are happy to be a fast-growing addition to the pool of opportunity for LDS students, adding more opportunities to attend an excellent LDS-centered university.

Enrollment Growth at Southern Virginia University

This growth is based on a welcoming culture of faith, acceptance and friendliness — along with excellence in academics. We have full academic accreditation at the highest level and full membership in the NCAA Division III. We have an outstanding liberal arts core education, an exceptional ratio of teaching faculty to students, the highest levels of participation in NCAA athletics and university-level performing arts, the highest reported placement rates for graduates, the largest daytime Institute of Religion in the East with one of the highest percentages of Institute attendance of any college campus, and the newest digital technology platform.

2. Faculty Growth this Fall: Outstanding New and Returning Faculty Members

Increasing enrollment enables us to attract outstanding new faculty members, all of whom are dedicated to students and teaching, and bring exceptional academic, professional and technical credentials and experience:

Shantia Rahimian Philosophy – PhD Harvard; MD Washington U St. Louis
Kyle Nielsen Choral Music – PhD Univ of Miami Frost School of Music
Lee Falin Computer Science/BioInformatics – PhD Virginia Tech
Sarah Maitland English/Digital Literacy – PhD Univ. of Rhode Island
John Chapman Business – PhD BYU, UNC; HP & Lockheed Martin
Doug Cheney Math – MME: Cal Tech/BYU; MS: U Colorado; 3D CAD
Scott Samuelson English – PhD Univ of California, Irvine; BYU-I
Jeff Battis Psychology – PhD Wayne State; U of Indiana, Wesleyan
Dave Hunt French – MA, BYU; 35 years professional translation
Joseph Gearhart Accounting – MS/CPA; 22 years professional practice
Rachel Wilcox Contemp. Issues, Stud. Gov’t – JD, Stanford Law School
Joseph Bouchelle Education/English – EdD University of Virginia Commercial
Mark Milberger Music – MM, Westminster Choir College
Heather Dobbins Concert/Pep Band – MM, University of Utah

Our outstanding faculty, current and new, enables us to maintain our trademark close relationship of professors with students, and move toward offering more high value academic Concentrations such as Pre-MAcc Accounting, Commercial Music, Professional Translation, Bioinformatics, and others.

3. Apple Partnership Starts this Fall: LaunchPad

LaunchPad, our new Apple digital technology partnership, starts with a soft launch this fall, and full implementation by the spring semester. The University will supply a new state-of-the-art 10.5” iPad Pro to every student, faculty and senior staff professional. This is the highest performance tablet ever made, launched at the Apple global conference in June. Each iPad Pro will also have an advanced auto-docking keyboard cover and a new digital Apple Pencil for highly precise writing and drawing.

In addition, our classrooms will have new 55”, 65” and 75” high-definition monitors and self-contained Apple TV systems for live interactive teaching and learning. The entire campus also will receive major upgrades to the WiFi network for faster and more reliable Internet.

LaunchPad is a great opportunity to experiment and learn with one another as students and faculty, working together to discover, develop and use this new technology to enrich teaching and learning. This fall, some faculty members will already be introducing new, content-rich, interactive class materials and Smart Books, as we begin to gradually move away from heavy, expensive traditional printed text books. Over the next few years many publishing companies expect texts will move from print to interactive digital smart books.

4. New Partnership with Icon Fitness

This year, we also will start a new partnership with Icon Fitness, the leading health and fitness equipment company in the United States (think NordicTrack). Icon is giving the University a great deal of high-value fitness and exercise equipment, and will create a new corporate call center on campus.

They will initially interview and hire about fifteen to eighteen students, with professional training and excellent compensation, with great experience and future opportunities in this and other industries. We believe this Center will become a popular, high-value opportunity destined to grow to involve fifty, sixty or more students working up to twenty hours a week.

5. New University Logo and Color

I have spent much of my career in strategy and branding as a partner at The Boston Consulting Group, working with some of the best creative agencies and companies in the world. I know that color authenticity, consistency, and visual association are critical elements of successful brands. The ideal color for a brand must be authentic and consistent with the actual identity it represents. It is also important that it communicates appropriate associations.

For a university, color is a key element in brand identity and image — especially in athletics. Green has been fine for the early years, but is not ideal because it is not consistent with the actual visual image and heritage color of the University’s iconic Main Hall.

A few years ago on April Fools’ Day, someone announced that because the school’s color was green, Main Hall would be repainted green. This “announcement” was accompanied by the below Photoshop image:

This image is shocking and almost humorous, but the underlying inconsistency between green and crimson is a very valid point. Crimson is the authentic heritage color of Main Hall and of the school. It is the color and image visitors remember. Last summer we repainted the Stoddard Center and the Arena to crimson, consistent with Main Hall and the rest of campus. The change was obviously right and felt familiar and correct before the paint had dried.

Ideally, the color of our school branding and athletics should be totally consistent, and totally authentic — the heritage color people associate with Southern Virginia.

Crimson also has the advantage of positive associations. Sophisticated brand research has shown that colors in the red family, like crimson, are associated with strength, success, energy and superior performance both athletically and academically (see endnotes 1, 2, and 3). Green, on the other hand, is widely associated with the environmental movement and with being envious or naive (e.g., “green with envy” or “new greenie”). Crimson as a school color is not a risky experiment; it is the choice of good schools such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, USC, Oklahoma and Alabama.

But most important, crimson is distinctively our color — the most memorable visual impression of our school, the iconic color of Main Hall and our campus.

Old Logos

New Logos

With full support of the Board of Trustees and the Founders of the University, the school brand and athletics program will start a transition this fall to our heritage color — crimson. This will be a gradual transition, beginning with athletic uniforms that are ordered annually; other equipment will be replaced in due time. In the meantime, hold on to your green sweats and T-shirts — they will be rare and valuable in a few years — like Royal Blue for BYU! Green is perfectly fine for now, but we will transition to crimson gradually over the next year or two as we redo the Knight Arena floor and Knight Stadium turf field logo.

I realize change can sometimes be challenging, but I am absolutely confident this is for the best going forward. It’s time to update our brand and move from the green of the early years to the authentic heritage color of the University.

6. New Stadium and New Tennis Complex

These two great new facilities represent generous gifts from great Friends of the University. Both new facilities will be opened and dedicated this Fall and will be heavily used by the football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, and on occasion by the University community.

In addition to these facilities, we have started fundraising for a new state-of-the-art Academics & Classroom Center. We will begin development work and announce a target date within the next few months; we hope to fund other campus improvements and begin within a similar time frame.

7. New Student Counseling and Support Center

We are expanding services in the Student Support Center. We are pleased to welcome a full-time clinical psychologist, Dr. Chad Kelland. Dr. Kelland is a graduate of the APA accredited American School of Professional Psychology and is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. We also now have a more complete complement of Accessibility and Disabilities Services, with Kenson Hiatt, M.A., leading a new Accessibilities Support Services Center with specialized services and counseling for students with accessibility issues.

We are pleased to announce that our exceptional colleague Michael Gibbons has agreed to serve as the new University Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Life. Charlie Bowen will serve as the Vice President of Service and Community Engagement, and Joe Bouchelle will assume a new role as a full-time faculty member working to build our teacher licensure program.

Overall, we have a great year ahead. There will be outstanding visitors to campus and memorable events throughout the year. We are creating the future together. Schools like BYU and Stanford were once the same size we are now. The time will come that tens of thousands of students and their families will be blessed by opportunities growing directly from the work we are doing together here, and now. As President Monson has said, the great gates of history swing on small hinges. I believe we will look back many years from now and be happy we were here, and were part of the foundation of what is destined to become a great institution.

As Elder Rasband said during his Commemoration and Inauguration address last year,

“Much has happened here at Southern Virginia University…
and there is much, much more to come!” 4

Welcome to Fall Semester, 2017, at Southern Virginia University!

Reed N Wilcox
President
Southern Virginia University

Questions or feedback? Let us know!


  1. Lauren Labrecque and George Milne, “Exciting Red and Competent Blue: The Importance of Color in Marketing.” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (September 2011).
    “The color red can be linked to excitement…
    It is generally associated with the characteristics of activity, strength and stimulation (Fraser and Banks 2004) and is considered up-to-date (Bellizzi et al. 1983)” (p. 5).
    In an experiment, the color red positively influenced the perceived excitement of a brand (p. 7).
    “Green’s primary association with nature creates feelings of security (Kaya and Epps 2004) and a connection with the outdoors (Clarke and Costall 2007)” (p. 5).
  2. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik, “How the Color Red Influences Our Behavior.” Scientifc American (November 1, 2014).
    One study followed “four combat sports in the 2004 Summer Olympics: boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman wrestling, and freestyle wrestling. …In all four sports, contestants wearing red won more fights than those in blue. The advantage was most pronounced when the participants were well matched. …Whatever the reason, the red athletes had a critical advantage over rivals–even if the edge was illusory.”
  3. David Robson, “How the Colour Red Warps the Mind.” BBC.com (September 1, 2014).
    “…[Soccer] penalty shooters…are less likely to score if the goalie is wearing red,” while “Simply changing colours changed the way experienced referees were scoring’…whoever was wearing red won the referee’s favour.” Finally, “Some fashion experts suggest red ties project authority and dominance in the workplace…[and a] string of experiments…have all confirmed that men and women are both rated as being more attractive when wearing red compared to other shades.”
  4. Elder Ronald Rasband, Southern Virginia University Commemoration and Inauguration Address, (Sept 16, 2016).
    “Elder Rasband praises SVU at inauguration, 20th anniversary celebration”
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865662616/Elder-Rasband-praises-SVU-at-inauguration-20th-anniversary-celebration
    “Elder Rasband Speaks at Inauguration of Southern Virginia University’s President”
    https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-rasband-speaks-at-inauguration-of-southern-virginia-universitys-president