The decision to name the student center after Elder Kimball comes at the request of a donor, who contributed nearly $1 million to the year-long renovation project carried out in 2008–09.
"Many people remember Elder Kimball for his quick wit and legendary story-telling," Southern Virginia University President Rodney K. Smith said June 17. "Fewer people are aware of his significant contributions both to the church generally and to the community in which this university resides, for which we honor him."
A native of Salt Lake City and son of LDS apostle Heber C. Kimball and Christeene Golden Kimball, J. Golden served as a missionary in the southern United States in 1883, spending part of his service in the area that includes present-day Buena Vista. Despite facing many hardships, serving at a time when anti-Mormon sentiment was strong in the South and when the missionaries were often subject to persecution and even violence, he served faithfully until he was honorably released in the spring of 1885.