A Visit to Lynchburg College

The final stop on my Blue Ridge Counselors’ Tour was the Colleges That Change Lives member school Lynchburg College, located just a short drive across the city of Lynchburg from its neighbor Randolph College.  (Remember, the two share use of Randolph’s equestrian facility, a relationship aided by the close proximity of the two campuses.)  And despite a vast amount of summer construction that was being performed on the buildings and drives (most notably on the student center and on the main entrance to the school), we were able to see and learn quite a bit about this wonderful school on our tour.

The conveniently-located coffee shop inside Schewel Hall!
The conveniently-located coffee shop inside Schewel Hall!

Due to the construction, our tour of the Lynchburg campus began and ended at one of the most recently renovated buildings prior to the current work – Elliot and Rosel Schewel Hall, the home of both the school of business and economics and of the Donovan Media Center, where a full broadcasting studio is available to students who have an interest in television production.  (One of the local talk shows in the region actually shoots on Lynchburg’s campus because of the quality of the studio and filming equipment.)  Video editing spaces are available, as are sound booths and Macintosh and PC multimedia production labs.  Around the corner from these work spaces, the building also features a coffee shop to supply enough caffeine to help keep the creative juices flowing.  (Also worth mentioning – for the business students who also call Schewel Hall home, there is a mock trading floor where they can begin to practice their acumen in the stock market.)

And if having two major programs housed in Schewel wasn’t enough, the facility also houses the Sydnor Performance Hall, which can seat 250 people and serves as the concert space for a variety of musical groups on campus, as well as other special events that require a large quantity of seats.

Departing the back door of Schewel Hall, visitors who travel straight to the center of campus find themselves at the Friendship Circle, the true center point between the majority of buildings on Lynchburg’s campus.  The circle is also equidistant between Hopwood Hall and Snidow Chapel, making it one of the (if not the) main thoroughfare through campus.  (During our tour, it was also a great place to see hummingbirds attacking the centers of the beautiful flowers planted there!)

The view of Schewel Hall from Friendship Circle.  The entire campus has a homey feel.
The view of Schewel Hall from Friendship Circle. The entire campus has a homey feel.

Lynchburg has a substantial athletic history and tradition and the main athletic fields for soccer and lacrosse (Lynchburg doesn’t have a football team) are at the center of their eight-lane track with the entire complex ringed by not only the field house and athletic center, but also by student housing complexes.  Between that and the spectacular views of the Blue Ridge mountains visible from the track, our guide was quick to point out that housing in that area is at a premium for students, who have been known to hang banners and sheet signs out their dorm windows to support their friends for the weekend’s athletic contests.  The stadium also features seating only for the visiting teams to use, as passionate Lynchburg fans bring their own seating to the field (and tend to overwhelm the opponent’s supporters by sheer numbers).

Residence halls overlook the athletic complex - and boast a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge mountains!
Residence halls overlook the athletic complex – and boast a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge mountains!

As I previously mentioned, the equestrian team at Lynchburg (which is hunt seat only and is a varsity sport) rides at the equestrian facilities of Randolph College, their neighbor and IHSA/ODAC rival.  During my visit to the area, I was able to meet with Lynchburg coach Brett Flower and ask her about how the two programs coexist in one facility.  She told me that, in the barn during regular lessons, the riders are just riders and the focus of all of the coaches is on educating the students and preparing them for competitions; not many distinctions between “Randolph riders” and “Lynchburg riders” are made.  It’s during competitions that the main rivalry comes out – more so in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) equestrian tournament than at IHSA shows, as Lynchburg’s athletic director takes particular pride in his teams doing well in ODAC competition.

After visiting both campuses, it was apparent to me as a counselor that the Lynchburg and Randolph teams were also able to co-exist at one facility because of the differences in the cultures at both schools; both have much to offer their students but each student will have to decide for him or herself which of the two campuses is the best fit for their academic needs.  (After all, the horses are the same for both!)

Are you a Lynchburg kid or a Randolph kid?  Or is there an entirely different school out there that will fit you better?  Contact me and we’ll find out!

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