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Board of Regents assemble for annual meeting

September 29, 2008 : Mitzi Bible

Photo caption: Iris and Tom Tilley, parents of Becki Falwell, wife of LU Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., are introduced at Friday’s convocation as members of the Board of Regents. The Tilleys made it possible for the new Tilley Student Center to be built at Campus North.


Liberty University hosted some of its biggest supporters this past weekend as the Board of Regents convened for its annual on-campus meeting.

The Board, close to 800 members strong, serves as a spiritual advisory board to the university and helps support university projects and students through various programs, including “Adopt a Champion,” where the Regents step in and provide the financial means for individuals to continue their education at Liberty.

About 300 members from 20 different states were in attendance this weekend. They were given a chance to tour new facilities and meet with university leaders and special guests.

At Friday morning’s convocation, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. recognized some of them for their contributions to the university. LU considers the Regents family — and to Falwell, some actually are family.

He first introduced Regents Tom and Iris Tilley of Durham, N.C., his mother-in-law and father-in-law and the couple who made it possible for the new Tilley Student Center to be built in the LaHaye Student Union.

“Becki [my wife] saw such a need for a student center over at LaHaye, a place where students could socialize, watch TV or watch a concert, that she hit her parents up for the money to do it,” he said. “So they helped us make that student center a reality.”

He said the sale of a plot of land on a family farm made it possible for the Tilleys to give to the center.

Falwell also recognized Regent Bill Byron, who put together the insurance package on the late Dr. Jerry Falwell’s life in 2003 that helped Liberty University become debt-free.

“It was an invaluable service he [Byron] did for this university. It’s amazing the policies he was able to obtain for us,” Falwell Jr. said. Byron is based out of Charlotte, N.C.

Jane Helms Knox, daughter of the late Sen. Jesse Helms, was also introduced as a member of the Board of Regents. Her father, a five-term Republican U.S. Senator from North Carolina, died on July 4.

“Her father was a hero, a statesman, we sure need more senators like him,” Falwell Jr. said. “Our Helms School of Government was named after him. His last public address was here at Liberty University.” He asked the crowd to keep Knox’s family in their prayers.

Falwell Jr. also introduced Neal Askew, a member of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees. He said Askew was responsible for helping to resurface Williams Stadium and has helped Liberty in many ways over the years.

“He helps us with the administration of the school and we appreciate him very much,” he said.