Oct 24, 2006
by Jenni Thurman
When Andy Barrick, Director of Alumni Affairs, predicted Homecoming weekend would be “the biggest crowd Liberty has ever seen,” he had no idea his words would be an understatement.
A record-breaking crowd of 15,631 alumni, students and friends of Liberty University overflowed from the stands of Arthur L. Williams Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch the Flames football team suffer a heartbreaking one-point loss to the College of William & Mary.
Dr. Jerry Falwell considered the weekend an overall success, citing the large number of fans in attendance as evidence. The previous record was for the 1998 Homecoming weekend, which had 12,623 people in attendance.
“The spirit of excitement, return of the alumni, performance of the football team and record attendance in Williams Stadium all show that Liberty is growing straight up,” said Falwell.
Friday night also featured a Homecoming Bonfire hosted by Student Life in the David’s Place parking lot, which showcased the band Bosc. Students gathered for a time of camaraderie and roasted marshmallows over individual fire pits.
Saturday was the culmination of events, with hundreds of alumni and students lining University Boulevard and Champion Circle for the Homecoming parade, which involved many Liberty sports teams and clubs riding in floats, as well as Falwell cruising in a red convertible. Following the parade was the much anticipated Homecoming football game.
“The game was really fun. There were pom- poms sitting on the bleachers for everyone so all you could see the whole time was this sea of red and white because everyone was waving them,” said junior Charity Forystek.
That night, alumni packed the Tolsma Indoor Track for the alumni dinner. Exhibits from 22 different schools and departments offered alumni a chance to interact with professors.
“It was a time of fellowship and good food. We separated the (track) into four decades, which the alumni asked us to do, so it would be easier to find their old classmates,” said Barrick.
The alumni dinner also debuted merchandise that will be sold on the new LU Online Store.
Dr. Ed Hindson, dean of the institute of biblical studies, immensely enjoyed the weekend, especially the main course of filet mignon at the tailgate party.
“It was exciting to see so many LU alumni here for the weekend with their families, spending time in awe of the development that has taken place since they graduated,” Hindson said.
Kevin Holt, a 2004 graduate and the pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Lynch Station, Va., said that he most enjoyed the music during the weekend, which was provided by Spirit FM. Holt was adamant that he plans to make a Liberty education a college tradition in his family.
“Without a doubt all five of my children are coming to Liberty, Lord willing,” said Holt. “Dr. Falwell has already claimed my son, (11 year-old) Daniel, for the football team.”
Becky Smith Greubbs, a 1991 graduate from Richmond, Va., enjoyed watching the hockey game with her family and seeing the new development on Liberty’s campus.
“The campus is so beautiful and I love the view here. Liberty is an excellent school and there really is no other like it,” she said.
According to Barrick, the countless hours and endless resources Liberty pours into Homecoming weekend have the sole purpose of developing a network of alumni who can support the university’s future endeavors.
“Alumni involvement is critical to the future of the school. Homecoming is a way to invite alumni back and show them what God is doing on campus,” said Barrick. “Their involvement, whether it’s giving back financially, praying for the future of the school or promoting Liberty to prospective students in their church and community, are all critical to Liberty’s future.”
“The mission, the heart of Liberty is to share Christ. We want alumni to see what God is doing here and we want them to stay connected to Liberty,” he said.
Contact Jenni Thurman at email@example.com.
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