1867, Southern Seminary College was founded in the foothills of the
Blue Ridge Mountains during Virginia's post-Civil War era when Alice
Scott Chandler established the Home School for Girls in Bowling Green,
Va., later renamed the Bowling Green Female Seminary. This school was
established in order to teach young women to achieve their dreams
through belief in themselves and a commitment to lifelong learning. In
1883, Dr. Edgar H. Rowe purchased the school and operated it with Mrs.
Chandler as principal. Dr. Rowe moved the school to Buena Vista in 1900,
and changed its name to Southern Seminary College. It was located in
the splendid Buena Vista Hotel, which had been built 10 years earlier to
accommodate the large numbers of land speculators investigating the
town's iron ore deposits. The iron boom was short-lived, however, and
Dr. Rowe was able to purchase the hotel. The original hotel still serves
as Main Hall, the university's principal building, and holds a place of
distinction on the National Register of Historic Places and is a
Virginia Historic Landmark.
In 1919, Dr. Robert Lee Durham,
former dean of Martha Washington College, bought a half-interest in
Southern Seminary and became the resident head of the school. An
educator, lawyer, engineer, author and inventor, Dr. Durham strengthened
the school's academic program. In 1922, Dr. Durham's daughter,
Margaret, married H. Russell Robey, who purchased Dr. Rowe's remaining
interest in the school and became its business manager and treasurer.
Dr. Durham and Mr. Robey added college-level courses to the school's
curriculum, and the first class of the new junior college program
graduated in 1925. The period of greatest physical growth of the school,
by then called Southern Seminary and Junior College, occurred during
the presidency of Margaret Durham Robey, who succeeded her father upon
his retirement in 1942. Facilities for art, early childhood education
and home economics were added.The academic building, Durham Hall, was
named after Dr. Robert Lee Durham and Robey Resident Hall was named
after Margaret Durham Robey.
In 1959, the Robeys turned over
the ownership of the college to a Board of Trustees, and the
institution changed from proprietary to nonprofit status. In 1961, the
school ceased offering high school courses, and the name of the
institution was changed to Southern Seminary Junior College. The
academic program was expanded to allow students either to begin careers
after their two years at the school or to transfer to four-year
colleges. "Sem" became a nationally recognized competitor in
intercollegiate riding, winning numerous state, regional and national
equitation competitions. In 1992, the name was known as Southern Sem
College. By the mid 1990s it had been generally forgotten that a
seminary was anything but a school preparing one for the ministry. To
avoid confusion, the name was changed from Southern Sem College to
Southern Virginia College for Women, which was shortened in 1994 to
Southern Virginia College, when male students were admitted.
the late 1980s and early 1990s enrollment began to slip and the college
became financially unstable, which led to a loss of regional
accreditation in 1996. In the spring of that year, a group of
Latter-day Saints in Virginia purchased the school. The name was changed
to Southern Virginia University in April 2001.
is a History of our beloved Southern Seminary College. This website is
dedicated to Southern Seminary College Alumnae apparel and memorabilia. I
am committed to make this one of the best Alumnae stores out there.
This has recently been written and Published by one of our very own SEM sisters!!! It is a "must read" and I have provided a direct link to Amazon, where this book is for sale!!!
Book DescriptionPublication Date: June 10, 2014 "There’s a secret language between women . . . a smile, a sigh, a tear flowing down a cheek. They understand. How? They just do. It’s been going on for as long as time, and will go on forevermore. They understand both happiness and deep sorrow, and, when they are lifelong friends, there is nothing they won’t do to go to the rescue of another.
This particular gaggle counted four and sometimes five, although it could expand on occasion to welcome a male or two into their confidences. But the immediate four were inseparable. A day didn’t go by that they each didn’t speak to one or another. Living far apart was their enemy, but, each year, they met on the Outer Banks of North Carolina to reminisce about the times of their youth in a small junior college in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where they had met, lived together, and vowed an eternity of sisterhood. So far, all these gatherings had gone perfectly.
Then, one day, the invitation arrived. What invitation, you ask? Why the one that was going to change all their lives. It came from Dixie Lee Callaway, and we all know someone just like her, the one who takes the oxygen out of the air when she arrives, and you don’t ever feel quite well again. She too had gone to school with them, but she hadn’t surfaced for decades, so why now?
That is where this tale begins. With its mix of Southern hospitality and Yankee ingenuity, this story will take you on a ride that will make you laugh uproariously one minute and cry sorrowfully the next. Perhaps it could be best described as where Gone With the Wind meets Downton Abbey. Certainly anything and everything will happen. Tara, Ginger, Sabrina, and Dabney will do their best to uphold the traditions and manners learned long ago in the South, but, as for their former professor, southern gentleman extraordinaire Bristow O’Neal, this may be one step too far.
Enjoy listening in on the secret language of this unique group of women, as they revisit their past with both joy and regret, and share their present as it has been altered by the passage of time and the changing of the culture that formed them."
_ Our Alumnae should explore this site, we will be ever growing!!!
first product line will be the original SOUTHERN SEM COLLEGE
sweatshirt. Grey with purple lettering. We will also have military
fidel shaped caps. This site is invaluable to the keeping of the Southern Sem College name.
This site is new, please bear with us while we get the apparel line up and going. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to call/e-mail me. My commitment to preserving our "SEM" name, is my number 1 goal.