In 1971, Pastor Jerry Falwell Sr. challenged his congregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. to establish a Christian college whose students would “go out in all walks of life to impact this world for God.” Soon after, Lynchburg Baptist College became a reality.
Through those founding years, students and faculty were inspired to influence the moral and ethical course of America. Subsequently, the school’s name officially changed to Liberty Baptist College in 1975 and the colors were changed to red, white, and blue. The college achieved full accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1980.
By 1985, the school had become recognized as a fully accredited university, adding programs and garnering recognition from both mainstream culture and the world of academia. Liberty also pioneered a distance learning program that year, launching what is now known as Liberty University Online.
With the passing of the founder in 2007, his son, Jerry Falwell Jr., became chancellor and president of the university. At the 2007 Commencement ceremony, just days after his father’s passing, the now President Falwell proclaimed, “We have prepared for this transition for 15 years or more. All is well at Liberty.”
In only four short decades, Liberty has grown to become the nation’s fifth largest university, and most importantly, the world’s largest Christian university.
Liberty’s journey has been one of facing giants, making the impossible possible, watching fervent prayer move mountains, and Training Champions for Christ.
Then & Now
Dr. Jerry Falwell
Aug. 11, 1933 - May 15, 2007
In June of 1956, at the age of 22, Jerry Falwell started Thomas Road Baptist Church in his hometown of Lynchburg, Va., with 35 members. Also in 1956, Falwell began the “Old Time Gospel Hour,” a nationally syndicated radio and television ministry that has led millions to Christ.
In 1967, Falwell implemented his vision to build a Christian educational system for evangelical youth. He began with the establishment of Lynchburg Christian Academy, an accredited Christian day school for grades K-12 . In 1971, he founded Liberty University, an accredited Christian university for evangelical believers. In 1985 Falwell announced his goal of 50,000 students.
Today his vision has been fulfilled, with more than 14,500 students attending classes on campus in Lynchburg, Va., and more than 95,000 students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries taking courses through Liberty University Online.
Get the latest facts and figures on Liberty's enrollment, student body, and more.