King University Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Founder of Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 09, 2020 — Boundless compassion. Radical kinship. Extravagant tenderness. Not terms that you would expect to hear when discussing gang violence, mass incarceration, or a period of time in U.S. history known as the “decade of death.”

It’s exactly that contrast, though, that has enabled the lifelong work of Father Greg Boyle to flourish.

Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, will join the Bristol community to present the Institute for Faith & Culture’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Lecture. On Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., Boyle will present “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness” at Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m., he will present “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship” in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Father Boyle’s work to integrate gentleness and restore respect in communities struggling with violence is a beautiful reflection of Dr. King’s vision of wholeness for society, and we’re delighted to welcome him for this year’s observance,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “Father Boyle’s work began at the very center of an area known for conflict, aggression, murder, and retribution, and he has since helped restore hope and community to many thousands here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in 1988, with a goal of providing job training and support services for the thousands of individuals transitioning away from gang affiliation, out of the prison system, and back into the workforce and community. Today, Homeboy offers education, counseling, tattoo removal, job training, and more in a transformational — and restorative — business model that is being replicated across the globe.

As part of the event, two members of Homeboy Industries will join Boyle in Bristol, sharing their experiences of God’s redemptive love.

“Father Gregory models Dr. King’s call to justice and compassion, and his work bears witness to the power of love in the most difficult circumstances,” Dotterweich said. “We’re delighted to learn from him, as well as members of the Homeboy Industries community, and proud to be part of Bristol’s annual celebration of Dr. King’s life.”

A Jesuit priest, Boyle received his bachelor of arts in English from Gonzaga University, a master of arts in English from Loyola Marymount University, and advanced theology degrees from The Weston School of Theology and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, awards, and recognitions, including being named as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and receiving the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor presented to American Catholics, in 2017.

He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” and most recently published “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

King University Honors More than 250 December Graduates

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 14, 2019 — More than 250 graduates attaining degrees at the associate, bachelor, master and doctoral levels were recognized during King University’s winter commencement ceremony today at Viking Hall.

Following longtime King tradition, graduates entered the ceremony in a bagpipe procession, led by piper Greyson Bledsoe. As part of the program, King Chaplain Brian Alderman, Ph.D., presented the invocation, and Jason Abernathy ’19, a graduate of King’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work, read scripture from Psalm 91.

Katherine Vande Brake, Ph.D., a distinguished career educator who served for nearly four decades at King, journeyed to campus from Michigan to honor and encourage graduates. In her presentation, entitled “I Know the Plans,” she expounded on the many intriguing pathways available to graduates as they grow, personally and professionally.

“God does have a plan for our lives,” said Vande Brake. “He works it out in spite of our missteps, and sometimes passionate desires.”

Vande Brake, who retired from King in 2017, was also recognized for her own accomplishments and service as the University honored her as professor emerita.

“Dr. Vande Brake’s work, from her creation of our English as a Second Language program to her careful cultivation and stewardship of our core academic program, significantly shaped the history and path of King,” said President Alexander Whitaker. “Her legacy continues to define the rigorous academic expectations we have for our students and faculty, and we are honored to name her professor emerita.”

In her 38-year career with King, Vande Brake served the University in a number of roles, most recently as the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Dean for Academic Programs. She is the author of two books, “How They Shine” and “Through the Back Door,” both of which focus on the history of the Melungeons in Appalachia.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

King University’s Social Work Program Attracts National Honors

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 13, 2019 — Four years ago, King University took on the tall order of establishing a degree program that would seek to benefit human well-being and human rights, affirm the dignity and worth of others, and work to empower the vulnerable and oppressed in society.

Today, King’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is educating scholars to do just that — and garnering attention for its results. Since its inception, students and alumni in the program have received a number of scholarships and awards on the national, state, and local levels, and the program itself has collected a national service award and has twice been ranked among the nation’s best social work programs.

“The central framework of our program is one that embraces a service orientation,” said Jodi Helbert, Ph.D., assistant professor and the founding program coordinator of the social work program in King’s School of Health and Professional Sciences. “Our faculty keep in mind that everything in the program must be Christ-centered, student-focused, and aligned with established ethical codes. In this environment, our students quickly learn the importance and rewards of shifting their thinking from the idea of ‘serve us’ to ‘service,’ and it’s quite gratifying to see them being broadly recognized for their achievements — especially since we know that for each of those accolades, there are many people in the community who will be assisted in an ethical and effective way.”

Graduates can choose from a range of career options, including legal and medical work, addictions counseling, victim advocacy, child welfare, school social work, policy analysis, and more. Courses are available both in the classroom and online — a feature that is currently being utilized by students across the US and from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago and Germany.

“This is a relatively new degree program, but one that’s centrally aligned with our mission of producing graduates who excel as thoughtful, resourceful, and responsible citizens with a passion for serving God, the Church, and the world,” said Matt Roberts, Ed.D., provost of King. “We’re proud to say that, in addition to a steady climb in program enrollment, our graduates have a 100% pass rate for licensure, to date.”

Student and alumni honorees include:

Bobby Flowers ’17, who won first place in the national Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship for his strategic plan addressing the issue of homelessness;

Arielle Holloway ‘20, who won first place in the national Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship for her work addressing toxic sports cultures and their impact on elite-level student athletes;

Jason Abernathy ‘19, who won the National BSW Student Leadership Scholarship and was also recognized as the 2019 BSW Student of the Year for the state of Tennessee;

Karren Bennett ’17 and Heather Parker ’19, both of whom won the regional M. Jeffrey Byrd Award, and;

Darrell Smith ’19, who won the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award.

Additionally, King’s social work program won first-place distinction in the Phi Alpha National Humanitarian Service Award, and is now ranked No. 11 for best online BSW degrees by Best Online Programs, the second such year it has been scored among the top programs in the nation. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

“We’ve been able to accomplish a great deal in this program in a relatively short span of time,” Helbert said. “Not only is this degree an investment in the personal and professional lives of our students, it’s a commitment to the well-being of society, and we look forward to seeing the long-term impacts of our wonderful students, who are indeed changing the world for the better.”

For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu, and for information specific to the BSW, visit https://online.king.edu/online-degree-programs/bsw-bachelor-of-social-work/.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping, General Shale Recognized for King University Restoration Project

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — General Shale, one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers, and Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping received an honorable mention in the 2017 Hardscapes North America (HNA) Awards for a King University restoration project.

The awards are the North American Hardscape Industry’s top honors for outstanding, professionally designed residential and commercial outdoor projects. First-place and honorable mention awards are presented annually for projects featuring clay, concrete or porcelain pavers, segmental retaining walls, or a combination of hardscape products, including natural stone, masonry veneer and mortared walls.

Headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee, General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG and a leading manufacturer of brick, one of the world’s oldest green building materials.

More than 55,000 of the company’s wire-cut red clay brick pavers were used in the restoration of King University’s Oval, an iconic walkway and community space that occupies the heart of the school’s main campus in Bristol, Tennessee. The entrances to King’s Chapel, Parks Hall and the E.W. King Library were included as part of the project.

“We are delighted that our clay brick pavers have been incorporated into King University’s campus,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO for General Shale. “The Oval is a central feature of this 150-year-old institution, and it’s an honor that the timelessness and durability of our products were chosen to preserve and maintain the beauty of King’s historic grounds.”

BurWil Construction Company of Bristol, Tennessee, served as the general contractor for the project, and Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping of Johnson City served as the subcontractor. Representatives of Thompson & Litton in Bristol and the Brick Industry Association recommended the design for the restoration.

General Shale’s product played a key role in maintaining the 19th-century Georgian style of the Oval, which reflects the architectural theme of King’s campus. The walkway, which was first paved with bricks in 1962, had shifted and settled from decades of foot traffic and weathering, creating the need for repair and refurbishment.

“Over time, the Oval had deteriorated from long-term use and weather,” says Adam Dennison, owner of Poor Boy Lawncare & Landscaping. “King wanted the clay brick pavers to not only be durable, but also match the feel of the campus and its surrounding buildings, and General Shale had the perfect product.”

Restoration took place over a three-month period during the summer of 2015. The new surface does not incorporate the use of mortar, which makes the pathway more durable and easier to maintain.

ABOUT GENERAL SHALE

General Shale is one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers. Founded in 1928, the company offers an endless array of sizes, colors and textures in a wide variety of masonry materials to complete any residential, commercial or specialty architectural project. These materials include brick, thin masonry, stone, outdoor living products, concrete block and various building materials, which include Arriscraft® Stone, Columbus Brick and Pipelife Jet Stream products.

Throughout the U.S. and Canada, General Shale operates sales and manufacturing facilities in 15 states and provinces, in addition to a network of 31 retail showrooms and more than 300 affiliated distributors across North America. The company grew even stronger in 1999 when it joined Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, the world’s largest brick manufacturer. With a life cycle of more than 100 years, the sustainability of brick is General Shale’s commitment to responsible stewardship.

General Shale is headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.generalshale.com.

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Alexander Whitaker Selected as King University’s 23rd President

BRISTOL, Tenn. — King University named Alexander W. Whitaker IV as its 23rd President during a called meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees Monday afternoon.

Currently serving as Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Berry College, Rome, Georgia, Whitaker will succeed Dr. Richard Ray, who has served as Interim President of King University since 2014.

Whitaker’s tenure as President of the Bristol, Tennessee-based academic institution will begin Aug. 1, 2016.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Whitaker to the King University family,” said Warren Payne (’69), Chair of King University’s Board of Trustees. “He was the top candidate in an unbelievably qualified pool of applicants, and he brings with him a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing institutions like King University. His skills and experience will be a tremendous asset, and we are excited about the future of King University under his leadership as President.”

Whitaker, an attorney and native of Rome, Georgia, is currently in his 10th year at Berry College, his undergraduate alma mater. He returned to Berry after a distinguished 25-year career in the United States Navy, retiring as a captain. A member of Berry’s executive leadership team and an officer of the college, Whitaker works closely with the institution’s governing and advisory boards, and oversees Berry’s public relations, religious life and historic assets.

Whitaker began his work at Berry College as Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts and has continued fundraising work as Chief of Staff.

“I am honored to be selected to lead King University, an institution with deep Christian roots that is dedicated to academic excellence and personalized educational experiences for its students,” Whitaker said. “King University has seen a great deal of growth and many successes in recent years. I am excited at the prospect of working with the trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue the rich academic history that is the foundation of this well-respected University. Maria and I look forward to making the Bristol area our home and enjoying the many wonderful attributes that make this region so special.”

Whitaker has also served on the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, appointed to his post in 2014 by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

“Whit has been an integral part of the president’s office at Berry for nearly a decade,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “He has a deep understanding of how the college operates, and he has helped review and shape many key policies. His breadth of experience, eye for strategy and ability to analyze challenging issues will serve King University well in the years to come. The community at King will also enjoy Whit’s keen wit and love of place.”

King University’s presidential search committee worked with search consultant CarterBaldwin Executive Search to identify potential candidates and conduct a successful search process. The search committee held several outreach forums with various groups, including University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community and business leaders to develop the criteria used to evaluate candidates.

“When we began our search process, we knew we wanted to find a proven leader who will champion the continued integration of faith and learning at King University,” said Dr. William Heizer (’58), Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Board Trustee. “The committee was also searching for a candidate who appreciates the synergistic relationship between the liberal arts and the University’s professional schools, and will foster community engagement among all King University stakeholders. Mr. Whitaker exceeds these expectations and is absolutely the right person to guide King University at this stage of its development.”

Whitaker spent most of his early Navy career in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the service’s legal arm, where he mainly focused on litigation and international law. Whitaker was assigned to sea duty and shore tours on both U.S. coasts and in Washington, D.C., and overseas in Scotland, London and Japan. His final tours of duty were as Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General for general civil litigation in D.C., and then as commanding officer of the Navy’s southeast legal services command.

A member of the Georgia and Virginia state bars, Whitaker earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a Master of Laws in international and comparative law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has a Master of Arts in religion from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where he serves as trustee. He is also completing further doctoral work at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Whitaker is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of Governing Boards, the Association of Boards in Theological Education, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Whitaker has also taught undergraduate courses in constitutional law, national government, criminal law and procedure, and family law.

“I am grateful to have had the unique and rewarding opportunity to help guide King University these past two years,” said Dr. Richard A. Ray, Interim President of King University. “I am also very excited for the future of this beloved institution. I have no doubt that our rich heritage will be enhanced under the leadership of Mr. Whitaker, who is a staunch supporter of academic excellence and will continue to advance our mission of integrating Christian faith and service into the educational experience.”

King University is a doctoral-level comprehensive University, with more than 2,700 students from around the world dedicated to building meaningful lives for achievement and cultural transformation in Christ. Comprised of seven academic schools of learning, the University serves undergraduate and graduate students in more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations.

The University’s recognitions include ranking by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Regional Universities” in the South for the 26th consecutive year. In addition, The Princeton Review recommended King for the 12th straight year as one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast.” King has also been named to the coveted Military Friendly® Schools list for the seventh straight year by Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.

Holocaust Survivor Alfred Münzer to Speak at King University’s Bristol and Knoxville Campuses March 31

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Holocaust survivor Alfred Münzer will speak on Monday, March 31, at King University’s Memorial Chapel in Bristol, Tenn., at 9:15 a.m., and again at King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, Tenn., at 7 p.m. The event is part of the Buechner (Beek-ner) Institute’s 2013-14 Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“Each year, King University joins with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in honoring and remembering the victims of the Holocaust by inviting one of the survivors to speak on several of our campuses,” says Dr. Errol Rohr, interim chaplain, emeritus professor of Philosophy, and director of King’s Italy Study Program. “This long-standing program seeks to promote the cause of human dignity around the world, and educate present and future generations in the agendas of peace. This year’s speaker, Mr. Alfred Munzer, is a Holocaust survivor whose sisters were killed in Auschwitz and whose father died shortly after being liberated from one of the Nazi death camps. Alfred and his mother immigrated to the United States in 1958.”

Münzer was just an infant when his family was forced to split up and go into hiding in 1942. While he remained well-hidden with a family friend for more than three years, his two older sisters were eventually deported to Auschwitz and exterminated three days after their arrival. His parents were deported to Auschwitz in 1943, where they were separated and sent to other labor camps.

Münzer’s father spent the remainder of the war in two Austrian concentration camps, then died two months after being liberated. Münzer’s mother survived her stay in various camps, and after being liberated was repatriated in 1945 to Holland, where she was reunited with Münzer. Thirteen years later, mother and son immigrated to the United States.

Today, Münzer is president of the medical staff at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md. He is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary disease medicine.

Alfred Münzer will share his experiences as a Holocaust survivor on March 31 at 9:15 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus and at 7 p.m. at King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute, at 423.652.4156 or visit www.buechnerinstitute.org.

Choreographer Liz Lerman to Speak at King University, Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center on March 3

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Choreographer Liz Lerman will speak at King University’s Memorial Chapel on Monday, March 3 at 9:15 a.m., and again at 7 p.m.at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va., as part of the Buechner (Beek-ner) Institute’s 2013-14 Lecture Series. The series is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

Noted for her work as a dance choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, Lerman founded the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, based in Takoma Park, Md., in 1976. Lerman cultivated the company’s unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance, with performances at the National Cathedral, the Kennedy Center Opera House, Harvard University, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and other venues. In 2011, she handed the artistic leadership of the company to the next generation of Dance Exchange artists. Since that time, she spent a semester at Harvard University as an artist-in-residence.

Lerman is recognized for her transformative approach to dance, and has been described by the Washington Post as “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art.” Her aesthetic approach spans the range from abstract to personal to political. Lerman is the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship and a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship. Her work has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival, BalletMet, and the Kennedy Center, among other organizations.

“Liz Lerman’s choreography proves that every person, of any body type, of every age, can communicate something powerful about human experience through dance,” says Miriam Perkins, PhD, Associate Professor of Theology and Society for Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Johnson City, Tenn.  “She puts communities in motion to raise social awareness and inspire social change. Her methods of collaborative creation will change how you think about innovation in everything from writing, to community leadership, to living in the tensions between faith and risk. Her visit to the Buechner Institute is a rare opportunity not to be missed.”

In addition to her career in dance, Lerman has authored several books, articles and reviews. Her collection of essays, “Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer,” published last year, reflects on her life-long exploration of dance as a vehicle for human insight and understanding of the world around us.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., Lerman attended Bennington College and Brandeis University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Maryland and her Master of Arts in Dance from George Washington University.

Liz Lerman will present “The Discipline of Creative Research: Using Artistic Practice in Pursuit of Knowledge, Communication, and Engagement” at 9:15 a.m. at King University’s Memorial Chapel, and “Hiking the Horizontal: Making Rules and Breaking Rules” at 7 p.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, on Monday, March 3. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dale Brown at 423.652.4156 or visit www.buechnerinstitute.org.

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King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King University, the University offers more than 80 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports.  For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu.  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community University, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.