By Laura Anders Lee
Lynchburg’s institutions of higher education are an economic stronghold. The presence of internationally esteemed colleges and universities means a steady stream of skilled workers, cutting-edge research and economic advancement.
Our local institutions don’t just teach academic excellence and career readiness, they build character and provide a haven for learning. In fact, Lynchburg has been named among the top 10 college towns in the nation, alongside cities such as Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Students who graduate from one of Lynchburg’s dynamic schools are ready to innovate and inspire. And since we’ve also been named the No. 1 place for millennials in the country, our talented workforce is here to stay.
- n the nation
Central Virginia Community College ensures its graduates master the latest skills and technology so they can enter the workforce with expertise and innovation. Around 3,500 students are enrolled in more than 50 academic and career training programs, ranging from business and health care to engineering, manufacturing and IT. Students can obtain an associate’s degree in a variety of programs, as well as certificates for their chosen industry.
Liberty University, founded in 1971 as a small, private Christian college, today attracts students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries with its 700 programs of study, including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. While 15,000 students are on campus, another 95,000 attend online, making Liberty University Virginia’s largest college and the fifth largest in the nation. The city’s largest employer, Liberty University staffs 8,000 local residents. Liberty is also home to NCAA Division 1 athletics and a strong community service program — students volunteer 500,000 hours annually. In the most recent economic impact study, local spending associated with the university totaled more than $500 million.
Randolph College may only have 700 students, but it makes a big impact. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Randolph College among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, and The Princeton Review ranked it the ninth most green college in America. Randolph College is consistently written up in the prestigious Fiske Guide to Colleges for its academic programs, small class sizes, picturesque campus and diverse, close-knit community. Founded in 1891 as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, the school changed its name in 2007 and welcomed its first coed class. The campus is also home to Maier Museum of Art, a world-class museum and gallery showcasing pieces from the 19th-21st centuries.
The University of Lynchburg was founded in 1903 as a Christian college on the beautiful grounds of a resort hotel. Today, it has evolved into a comprehensive university with nearly 3,000 students spread across 40 buildings. U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Colleges of Distinction have all recognized the University of Lynchburg as one of the best private institutions in the nation. The university encourages worldly experiences with nearly a third of students completing study abroad programs. The University of Lynchburg offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as three doctorate programs and an array of professional certifications.
With around 300 students, Virginia University of Lynchburg is one of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The city’s oldest college has roots dating back to the 1886 session of the Virginia Baptist State Convention. Just 21 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African-American church leaders founded the school to educate the Black community and prepare them for paid jobs in careers of their choice. Virginia University of Lynchburg offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and has just announced an online Doctor of Healthcare Administration program beginning in 2022. A 2014 report of the state’s HBCU’s revealed Virginia University of Lynchburg generates $10 million in total economic impact for its local and regional economies.
Laura Lee is a Virginia-based freelance writer who loves to explore the state with her husband, two boys, and dog, Lillian.