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Buena Vista University


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We prepare students for lifelong success through transformational academic, professional, and co-curricular programs.
Buena Vista College (which became Buena Vista University in 1995) was founded by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1891. The college was first granted accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1952. A graduate program in education received accreditation in 1995, initiating a college transition to a university.
ACES, the Academic & Cultural Events Series at BVU, is designed to enrich the learning experience. There are three kinds of ACES events – cultural, scholarly, and student life. Students must attend a specified number and mixture of these events each semester. ACES is included on the BVU transcript and is graded as a pass/fail.
Cultural events feature performances by touring groups or individuals. These could be theatre, vocal, dance, or instrumental. Some of the past cultural events included – the Vienna Boys Choir, Rockapella, Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," and The Cashore Marionettes. These events are often open to the public and require a ticket.
Educational events are lectures or discussions on topics that relate to the different schools and majors at BVU. Also included in this category are performances by the BVU music and theatre departments. All of these events are open to the public, and some require an admission ticket.
Student life events are programs related to wellness and the campus experience. They cover topics varying to drug and alcohol abuse and relationship issues to stress management and financial literacy. These sessions are a little more casual than the other two categories but equally as valuable.
Buena Vista University overlooks a beautiful, 3,200-acre lake (Storm Lake), which provides water-related recreation opportunities. Storm Lake is less than 60 miles from the Iowa Great Lakes region, which includes Okoboji and Spirit Lake. Complementing the natural settings are modern classrooms and residence halls.
Construction of many campus buildings was completed in the 1960s. Edson Hall and Smith Hall were built before 1950, and Smith Hall was completely remodeled in 1970. As part of an $18 million gift donated to Buena Vista University by Dr. Harold Walter Siebens in 1980, the University completed an exciting new building program in 1986. It included J. Leslie Rollins Football Stadium, constructed in 1980, a 660-car parking lot, the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum completed in 1985, and total renovation of the Lage Communication Center in 1986. The 1990s marked further building progress with Briscoe Honor, Constitution and McCorkle Residence Halls, construction of the Information Technology Center, and renovations on Edson Hall. Construction on the Lamberti Recreation Center was completed in 2001. The 70,000-square-foot Estelle Siebens Science Center was opened in the summer of 2004.
The baseball and softball teams practice and compete on shared fields with the local public high school located on Tornado Drive. A complete renovation of both fields was completed in 2009. Field turf was installed on the baseball infield, making it the only field turf in Iowa used for college baseball. Additional upgrades for both fields included new scoreboards, dugouts, fencing, bleachers, backstops, press boxes, and windscreens.
This athletic complex is located north of Vestal Street's main campus and is the home of two soccer fields used for the men's and women's varsity competition. It is also the site of two football practice fields. Four lighted outdoor tennis courts are located just southeast of Siebens Fieldhouse. They are used for intercollegiate tennis and recreational play.
Constructed in 2008, the Center for Sculpture and Ceramics, attached to the Social Science and Art Hall, houses a large workshop equipped with a full line of modern woodworking machinery. Also housed in the building is a foundry set up to cast bronze and aluminum and a metalworking studio. The metalworking area contains MIG, TIG, ARC, and oxy-acetylene welders and much more metalworking equipment. The ceramics studio contains many electric Brent potter's wheels, a large glazing area, a hand-building area, and a kiln room. The three-dimensional classroom is set up for mold making, investment, modeling, and digital image projection.
Throughout the years, BVU has recognized needs and trends and adapted to meet them. In the mid-70s, the institution opened its first satellite location to help serve the needs of non-traditional students who could not attend classes in Storm Lake. Today, there are 16 locations across the state of Iowa and an online program for expanded learning opportunities. Graduate students benefit from several online options, as well. In 2000, BVU became the nation's first "wireless community" by providing laptops to all full-time students and faculty on the Storm Lake campus to connect to the campus-wide wireless network. Since then, BVU has built on civic engagement opportunities to create a more elegant atmosphere for community and campus service and involvement. Students have learned what it means to be global citizens and travel the world through professor-led academic ventures. Students also will soon benefit from a marching and pep band program, as well as an Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource management feature programs in ag-business and ag-science in Fall 2019.

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