One of the things I really love about organized college tours (aside from the fact that visiting in a group is always more fun than visiting alone) is when they return me to a campus that I’ve already seen once or twice before and I’m able to learn something new about the school that I didn’t absorb the first time around. In the case of my second visit to Lynchburg College as part of the Virginia private colleges counselor tour, the clear difference on this visit was that I got to see it filled with students, as my first visit brought me to campus in the middle of summer break.
Lynchburg is a small college with a big feel – which is no easy feat, let me tell you. With 2,800 students (both graduate and undergraduate) in total and a campus that offers expansive views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, you get the sense of space while walking across Friendship Circle (the center point of campus) but also of community when interacting with students and observing them interacting with each other. (In fact, during our evening campus tour, the climbing club was practicing their knot tying skills while hanging suspended from two large trees near Friendship Circle.)
To hear that Lynchburg prides itself on the activity level in its student body, then, is really no surprise. Not only do the majority (70 percent) participate in either varsity, club, or intramural athletics, they also regularly venture to the Claytor Nature Study Center, a 470 acre campus-owned outdoor classroom that allows students to observe and conduct research in the natural world, and engage in faculty-guided research and collaborative projects in addition to their academic work in the classroom.
Lynchburg is, of course, a traditional liberal arts college, so students have a diverse group of major and minor programs to choose from, including the STEM fields, art (including graphic and media arts), and social science programs like psychology and international relations. In addition, the college boasts some more career-focused programs like economic crime prevention and investigation, athletic training, and outdoor recreation. And after a student completes their undergraduate degree, Lynchburg also boasts several masters programs, including MBA and public health. It’s also one of the rare liberal arts colleges that has doctoral programs – in this case, a physical therapy program and a doctor of education in leadership studies.
Equestrians can also find a home with the varsity equestrian team at Lynchburg, which recently found a new coach and new home just down the road at neighboring Sweet Briar College, which has opened its Harriet H. Rogers Riding Center to all Lynchburg College equestrians. Back in the spring when it looked as though Sweet Briar would close its doors, the folks at Lynchburg looked into taking on Sweet Briar’s staff and horses to fortify their existing program and after Sweet Briar was saved, the two schools united the program under one roof. The team members ride three times per week and have 45 horses at their disposal. One other bonus of the Lynchburg/Sweet Briar union is that it makes Sweet Briar’s unique field riding program (which teaches the skills of riding out in the open in the hunt field) available to Lynchburg riders for the first time.