Southern Virginia University began as Bowling Green Female Seminary in 1867. At that time, "seminary" referred to a school for girls. In 1900, the school moved to a resort hotel in Buena Vista and changed its name to Southern Seminary. The hotel, built in 1890, is now Main Hall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From 1922 to 1996, the school operated as a junior college until declining enrollments and financial instability threatened to close its doors. In 1996, a group of interested Latter-day Saints assumed responsibility for the institution, its assets and liabilities, and converted it into a four-year liberal arts college. That fall, the "new" Southern Virginia College enrolled 74 students. Since then it has grown to more than 800 students. In 2001, the name was changed to Southern Virginia University.