Buena Vista University is a private four-year college in Storm Lake, Iowa. Founded in 1891 as Buena Vista College, it is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The university's 60-acre campus is situated on the shores of Storm Lake, a 3,200-acre natural lake. BVU's academic programs feature a balance between traditional liberal arts courses and hands-on learning opportunities, such as travel and internships. The average student-to-professor ratio is 13:1.
At its inception, the college was housed in the Storm Lake Opera House, where it remained for only a year. Old Main, the college's first building, opened in 1892, and was occupied by faculty and students until it burned down in 1956. Major construction projects in the 1950s and 1960s extended the college, which soon included three dormitories, a library, and a number of classroom buildings.
The college gained accreditation in 1952, and began to grant degrees under the authority of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The first graduate degrees were offered in 1995, at which time the college became Buena Vista University.
The main campus of Buena Vista University offers a 4-year residential collegiate experience and offers classes in 42 majors. Seventeen additional locations throughout Iowa and online serve working adult and graduate students as part of the Graduate & Professional Studies program. The university is ranked in the top 20 Midwestern Comprehensive Colleges, as reported by U.S.News and World Report's college rankings.