Q. What was your father’s vision for the university?
A. When Liberty was founded, most conservative Christian colleges had facilities that were inferior, athletic teams that were not competitive at high levels and academic program that were unaccredited with narrow course offerings that, for the most part, trained students to become pastors, church workers and missionaries. Secular universities of the day had become hotbeds of rebellion against authority and anti-American sentiment. Student protests were common and professors were encouraging student to turn away from their Christian beliefs. Students had to either attend a big secular school that would likely destroy their values or a small Christian school that offered an inferior education.
Dad envisioned a Christian university that upheld our Judeo-Christian and American values but that also offered evangelical Christian young people the same big college experience that could be found at any major secular university.
His vision for Liberty was a distinctively Christian university where every faculty member was a committed Christian, where the fundamentals of the Christian faith were never compromised, where the code of conduct encouraged behavior that is in keeping with Biblical morality.
He wanted it to be a place where our nation’s founding principles of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty were held in high regard.
He also wanted it to be where students could also enjoy world class facilities, academic excellence that would train students to work in almost any profession, NCAA Division I athletics competing at the highest levels and all the other activities and programs found at any major secular university.
Many believed it could not be done but he believed that, if it was Christian, it should be better and he saw examples like Notre Dame and Brigham Young University that had become world class universities but had also remained true to their faith-based mission. Those schools became sort of a model for Liberty.
Q. Why do we offer students so many extracurricular activities?
A. Liberty made a decision long ago not to have fraternities and sororities. Our code of conduct also prohibits some activities that are central to social life at many universities.
The extracurricular activities that we offer are meant to be a positive alternative to the types of activities prevalent at other universities that are not in keeping with Liberty’s mission.
Q. Why do you love student interaction?
A. Liberty’s students are special. They are optimistic, friendly and treat others with respect. That is why I go out of my way to interact with them and help them whenever I can.
One of the reasons Becki and I invite so many students up to our box at football games is because they seem to enjoy it so much and they are really grateful. Our Commencement speaker this year attended another graduation at an older university soon after Liberty’s and he commented how different the two experiences were. At the other school, the theme seemed to be how the graduates saw themselves as the elite of society and there was talk about what society owed them because of their superiority. He said that, at Liberty, the graduates were all about what they could do for others after graduation.
I think this is clear evidence that we are training champions for Christ who are not simply all about making money for themselves. Becki and I enjoy interacting with students because of this attitude that is so pervasive at Liberty.