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Students and their families gathered for Liberty University’s Fall Family Banquet as a part of Fall Family Weekend Friday, Nov. 1.
The dinner, held at the Tolsma Indoor Track Center in Green Hall, allowed the parents, families and friends of Liberty students to hear from President Jerry Falwell, Jr., who spoke about the individuality of the university and its mission.
“We’re so glad that you chose Liberty University,” Falwell said. “We have something very special and very unique here.”
The emphasis on the specific values of the school allowed visitors to hear about the differences between Liberty and other colleges. Falwell said Liberty offers more than most institutions because of the emphasis on Christian values.
“The goal here in the beginning was not just to create another Bible school, but to create a world class university,” Falwell said.
Falwell also shared the plans for the expansion of Liberty’s campus, saying he wants Liberty to be a school that gives prospective students a well-rounded college experience.
“Back when Liberty was created, a young person had two choices: Go to a Christian college and have a small college experience, or go to a major university and have a big college experience with no Christian emphasis at all,” Falwell said.
During the banquet, the Parent and Connections Office also presented the annual Parent of the Year award to junior Andrea Giovanetto, whose essay was chosen from written entries submitted by students. Giovanetto spoke to attendees about her family and shared her story with the crowd.
“But Jesus heard the prayers of this broken-hearted child in Columbia,” Giovanetto wrote. “Even when I thought he abandoned me, Jesus was giving me the family I prayed for.”
Giovanetto also said she has enjoyed the start of Family Weekend so far, adding that having her parents there made it special.
“Today is my dad’s birthday, so it is exciting to have my parents at the banquet,” Giovanetto said.
At the end of the banquet, Falwell said Snowflex and the other current features of the university are all part of a dream and a vision. He told families that, before Liberty grew into the college that it is today, the only person who believed it would become what it is now was his father, Jerry Falwell, Sr.
“I had a reporter recently ask me what my dad would say if he came back now and saw the growth that Liberty has seen the last six years,” Falwell said. “I told him he would say, ‘I told you so.’”