In its 2020 listings, U.S. News and World Report scored Southern Adventist University as number one for diversity among regional universities in the South. According to the U.S. News website, this ranking identifies institutions “where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own.”
At Southern, there is no ethnic majority on campus; the largest group represents 42 percent of the undergraduate student body.
“Each individual on our campus is God’s precious creation, and we are proud to be a place where students from any ethnic background are equally welcome, loved, and respected,” said David Smith, PhD, president of Southern. “When I see our students interacting in the Dining Hall, during campus activities, and in classes, they are organically coming together in a way that reminds me a little of what I think the unity of Heaven will be like.”
Research shows that when people engage with others who are different from themselves, the result is increased creativity, improved decision making, and strengthened problem solving, according to a 2014 article in Scientific American. Students value this exposure to other cultures.
“Conversations on our campus are reflections of the real world,” said Mark Galvez, Student Association president and senior theology major. “Through food, we taste; through words, we hear; through diversity, we learn. This is just one more reason why Southern is one of the best choices anyone could make for a higher education.”
With nearly 2,500 undergraduate students, Southern’s breakdown by ethnicity is:
10% African American or Black (non-Hispanic)
42% White (non-Hispanic)