|Chris Barker sits in Liberty's Alumni Welcome Center located in DeMoss Hall.|
Alumna Lisa Stroud (’91) recalls her days at Liberty University fondly; however, she also recalls the financial challenges she faced as a college student.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Stroud, a member of the Greenville (N.C.) Alumni Chapter. “I had a job on campus in the dish room and can remember watching other students coming in to eat and running off to the football games while I worked.”
It was Stroud’s church family who supported her and provided necessities throughout her time at Liberty. “It was a lady in my church who bought me bed sheets and towels,” she said.
Because of her own financial challenges and the blessing of those who invested in her education, Stroud has remained sensitive to the financial needs of college students. When she heard first learned of one Liberty University student, Chris Barker, she was empathetic to his situation and needs.
Barker, a freshman business major, was saved in May 2009 shortly before graduating from high school.
“My life dramatically changed,” said Barker. “I felt LU would be a great place for me to grow in my faith and get a great education.”
To meet the financial demands of college, Barker was forced to sell his car and give up his apartment, sacrificing a great deal to move to Lynchburg and attend Liberty.
Upon hearing of Barker’s perseverance and sacrifice to attend LU from a fellow church member, Stroud, along with a fellow chapter member, began communicating his testimony and needs to their alumni chapter and initiated a fundraiser to invest in his education. Although their chapter is small in number, members rallied to raise $400.
Barker was surprised to receive the chapter’s donation toward his college expenses.
“I was very thankful to receive a scholarship from people that I did not even know,” he said. “Every dollar counts — it is a big help.”
In his first year at LU, Barker has maintained a strong GPA, established friendships and has become involved with Thomas Road Baptist Church. “I have learned the value of hard work and setting goals,” Barker said. “I have learned how to spend quiet time with the Lord each day, how to resist temptation, the value of investing in my relationship with Christ and putting my trust in Him.”
After graduating from LU, Barker plans to own his own business, volunteer as a football coach for kids in his community and write a book on his life story.
Stroud sees the action of her local alumni chapter as a way to bless a current student.
“I look back to my time in college and I see that God’s provision was truly a miracle,” she said. “I wanted to be able to do the same for Chris.”
Following the fundraising efforts for Barker, the Greenville Alumni Chapter has aspired to raise money annually to assist in the financial needs of current students in their community.