The city of Lynchburg was named one of the top 25 college towns in the United States by “Travel & Leisure” magazine.

Randolph College President Sue Ott Rowlands said in an email that “Lynchburg’s cultural climate, including its youthful nature, makes it a wonderful environment for our students to learn and grow within.”

Ott Rowlands went on to say: ‘We are proud to be part of such a successful region.

According to the magazine, nearly a quarter of Lynchburg’s population is a student at Liberty University or Lynchburg University.

Michael Jones, vice president of enrollment, marketing and communications at Lynchburg University, said in an email that he was “absolutely thrilled” to see Lynchburg among the top 25 college towns.

“I’ve always said that every big city should have at least one big university or college. Here at Lynchburg, we are fortunate to have several, and our students are fortunate to live and study in a great community,” Jones said.

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Travel & Leisure is a magazine founded around 50 years ago with a mission to inform and inspire avid travellers, according to its website.

Lynchburg joined the likes of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Gainesville, Florida in an unranked group of 25.

There are five colleges in Lynchburg – University of Lynchburg, Liberty University, Randolph College, Virginia University of Lynchburg, and Central Virginia Community College. Sweet Briar College is not far away in Amherst County.

Michael Farris, dean of enrollment at Central Virginia Community College, said that’s the interesting part of Lynchburg. He said there aren’t too many places in the country that have one public community college surrounded by five nearby private colleges.

“I think that makes us unique,” Farris said. “If you look at other towns that can be considered college towns in Virginia, you might have a huge state university in the middle.”

Farris, a Lynchburg native, attended CVCC after graduating from high school.

After CVCC, he attended Lynchburg College – now UL – where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies. He said when he was younger he didn’t necessarily feel like Lynchburg was a college town, but he said looking at the city now, there are plenty of options for potential students.

“Lynchburg is the kind of place where you can go from nothing at community college and go all the way to a doctorate like me and stay here in town and then find work within the community,” Farris said.

Jones said being sandwiched between Boston, Massachusetts and Madison, Wisconsin on the magazine’s rankings is awesome. He said the community as a whole is welcoming to students who decide to spend their college years here.

“Lynchburg has so much to offer our students – great restaurants and cultural events, the nearby James River and Blue Ridge Mountains for outdoor recreation, the list goes on,” Jones said in an email.