Sep 23, 2008

Towns-Alumni Ministry Training Center

by Amanda Thomason

The Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall was dedicated on Friday, Sept. 19, after months of planning, coordinating and building. The spacious new addition brought with it a new name. Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. opened the ceremony by announcing that the building housing the B.R. Lakin School of Religion will be named Elmer L. Towns Religion Hall.

Addressing a room full of friends, family, alumni, administrators and students, Elmer Towns thanked everyone in attendance and those who contributed to the new additions before Dr. John Maxwell shifted the focus of the ceremony to Towns.

Maxwell delivered a personal message of appreciation and admiration for the role Towns has played over the years in his life.

“We are not only here to dedicate the building; we are here to celebrate a life and a ministry,” Maxwell said.

Pastor Jonathan Falwell, Towns, Falwell Jr., Maxwell, and Vice Chancellor Ron Godwin all participated in the official ribbon cutting.
The opening of the new Towns-Alumni Ministry Training Center in the Elmer L. Towns Religion Hall has brought to life the vision that Jerry Falwell Sr. and Elmer Towns set before the school three years ago.

With 750 seats, the new lecture hall provides padded seats with the atmosphere of an auditorium as opposed to an ordinary classroom.

“The room is so much better than a regular classroom. The screen was much bigger and centered so that even when I sat behind another person, I could still see it. It’s hard in other classrooms because either a pole or another person may be blocking the screen,” sophomore Holly Sandison said.

The new seats and big screens are not the only perks to this new addition of Liberty’s ever-growing campus. Broadcasting capabilities as well as individual Internet hookups are also available for students and faculty to use.

Towns had requested that the setup of the room be different than a conventional classroom. The need for a deep incline was presented from the very first mention of the new addition. The incline is beneficial because it enables speakers to look at each student’s face as they are lecturing.

“When you do that, it is communication, and I believe communication is absolutely imperative for good teaching,” Towns said. “I hope the new Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall will produce great communication in all of our classes.”

Even though there are many more students in this new classroom, several professors are in agreement that it is much easier to lecture in this setting.

“I find that the classroom is very conducive to large classes,” Don Love, professor of New Testament survey, said.

Not only is this new lecture hall more convenient and relaxed, but it also makes certain classes more available for students. Many classes fill quickly, which leaves students frustrated that they are not able to register for a class they are required to take.

“This new lecture hall made it easier for me to sign up for my theology class this semester. I tried to register for it in the beginning, but it was closed,” sophomore Trudy Mohammed said. “I decided to go to the class anyway and was able to sign in because there was enough seating. If it were in a smaller room than I most likely would have had to wait until next semester to take the required class.”

The Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall has presented many opportunities for Liberty students. It is already moving toward fulfilling the plan it was originally designed for — to train young champions for Christ.
According to Towns, Falwell Sr. first came up with the idea for this new lecture hall and presented it to him, wanting to name it in his honor. They wanted professors to be able to have the greatest impact on their students, and this new building would provide an efficient way for them to reach the most students.

The two men decided to work toward making this vision become a reality. After many discussions, they decided to keep this new classroom as part of the school of religion.

When asked how it felt to have a building named in his honor, Towns said, “Obviously, I am very honored that a building would be named after me. However, my main thrust is not for people to remember a building, but to influence students so that they will go out and serve Jesus Christ. If many young people become dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ, that will be the greatest honor that could ever come to me.”


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