Tradition was a word that was frequently spoken during our evening at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania and it’s a word that is regularly spoken on LVC’s campus as well. And those traditions begin at freshman orientation with the annual water ceremony when each student brings with him or her some water from home to pour into a communal urn in the campus peace garden along with the rest of the incoming class. When each student has finished pouring, the water is then poured into LVC’s pond – a symbol of community and unity.
There’s also Dutchman Day, a day off of classes in the spring that is always a surprise to faculty and all 1,600 students that includes a festival, inflatable games, and a lot of great food.
But don’t be fooled by all of the fun activities at LVC – there are some very strong academic programs on campus that continue to draw students in each year. (In fact, as with most liberal arts college students, LVC students typically have double majors or majors and minors.) Among the flagship programs in the curriculum are a six year doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program that’s been so well-received that a major in athletic training will come onboard in 2015. There is also a program in actuarial science that draws a crowd (with a finance program emerging from that next year as well) and a program for those interested in music business or any kind of work in the music industry.
To support students in their academic endeavors and facilitate group and individual learning, the college recently unveiled their Lebergern Learning Commons in the lower level of their student center. Students can literally walk from the dining hall, downstairs, and immerse themselves in the support services of the writing or career center, or meet a group in one of the sound proof study rooms with technology to complete a final project. (Technology is everywhere in the learning commons in fact; want to watch a video? Using a single app, you can throw it from the Netflix cache on your iPad to one of the screens hanging on the walls.)
Around 500 students at LVC participate in varsity athletics – a substantial number for a small school and a number that doesn’t even take into consideration the riders who participate as a club in IHSA hunt seat competition on the LVC equestrian team. Coached by LVC alumna Cheryl Keller, the group rides out of her nearby Bowcrest Farms, a drive of about 20 minutes. (There are also about 150 members of the LVC marching band if music is more your thing – just saying.)