Liberty University’s Board of Trustees assembled on campus on Nov. 15 for its biannual board meeting, where nine new members were elected for three-year terms.
“Liberty University is a young university and is blessed to be served by what I call a ‘first generation’ Board of Trustees, many of whom were instrumental in founding the university,” said President Jerry Falwell, Jr. “I applaud the foresight and wisdom they displayed in November by appointing a new generation of board members, ensuring Liberty’s continuing commitment to its Christian foundations and ensuring an orderly transition to the next generation of leadership.”
Falwell said he appreciated the dedication of all the board members, many who traveled long distances to attend the meeting. Tim and Beverly LaHaye arrived from California and chairman Dr. Jerry Prevo traveled from Alaska.
Falwell also thanked the LaHayes and current board member, Sherwin Cook, for donating generously to facilities that have expanded recreational opportunities for students. The LaHayes donated money for the LaHaye Ice Center, which is used by Liberty’s five hockey teams and figure skating and synchronized skating teams, and by the community for skating leagues and public ice skating. Cook donated money for the Cook Tennis Center on campus and donated the Sports Racket, an indoor tennis and racquetball facility in Lynchburg.
The board currently consists of 41 pastors and business leaders from all over the country. They will reconvene in the spring.
Will Graham (’97), Asheville, N.C.
Graham works with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C. He is the grandson of Billy Graham and the oldest son of Franklin Graham. He is a 1997 graduate of Liberty, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion. He earned his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001. Will and his wife, the former Kendra Bengds (’96), have three children. The Graham family has remained close friends with President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his family for many years.
Steven A. Snyder (’82), Tigerville, S.C.
Steve Snyder earned his B.S. in broadcasting communications from Liberty and went on to attend University of Virginia School of Law (he was the second Liberty student to attend a top 10 law school, after President Falwell). He is a partner with Davis, Snyder & Williford, P.A. in Greenville, S.C. His law career has primarily included litigation in medical malpractice defense and hospital risk management. He worked with Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour in the 1980s and was executive director of the Old Time Gospel Hour Radio and news director of Liberty’s radio station, WRVL (now Victory FM). He grew up on the mission field in Liberia, where his parents were involved in inter-denominational missionary radio broadcasting. The family moved to Lynchburg when he was 16 and his parents were among Liberty’s first faculty members; they taught for 18 years. His father, Al, was a professor in the School of Communication and was instrumental in starting WRVL. Steve is the founder and president of Global Adapt, a non-profit, organization that provides education, training and consulting to mission agencies, international schools and businesses on living and adapting across cultures. He is married to the former Patricia Marie Glenn (’85) and they have three children.
Jeffrey and Gaye Benson (’83) (’82), Chesapeake, Va.
Jeffrey and Gaye (Overton) Benson met when they were students at Liberty. Jeff was a quarterback on the football team and earned a degree in business administration. Gaye graduated with a degree in political science. Her parents, William and Norma Overton, and grandparents, Alton (“A.W.”) and Lois Overton, were consistent financial supporters of Liberty; the Graduate School of Business was named in her grandparents’ honor. Jeff is a partner in the Overton Family Partnership, which develops and manages commercial real estate, residential development, and home construction in the Tidewater region. A loyal alumnus, he attends many football games, home and away.
Anthony Beckles, Sr. (’83), Lynchburg, Va.
Beckles, a native of the Bahamas, was a star track & field athlete at Liberty, where he earned a B.A. in accounting and a master’s in business administration. He has served as Liberty’s vice president for finance and is currently chief financial officer for Lynchburg City Schools. His wife, Bernette (’84), is an adjunct instructor of math at Liberty. They have three children; two are Liberty alumni and one is currently attending Liberty.
The Rev. Jason Suitt (2000), Lynchburg, Va.
Suitt is the teaching pastor at Living Word Baptist Church in Forest, Va., where his father, Marvin, is senior pastor. At age 36, he is the youngest member on the current board. He earned his B.S. in biblical studies from Liberty and played on the Flames Baseball team. He went on to earn his M. Div. at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his D.Min. at Liberty. He and his wife Makaela have one child.
Glen Thomas, Lynchburg, Va.
Jimmy Thomas, Jr. (’84), Lynchburg, Va.
Brothers Glen Thomas (left) and Jimmy Thomas, Jr. have been faithful supporters of Liberty University. Jimmy Thomas, Jr. is a 1984 Liberty graduate and Glen Thomas also attended Liberty. In 2009, Glen’s generous donation made it possible to open the Thomas Indoor Soccer Center, which is in wide use by Liberty Athletics, intramurals, and large community youth leagues year-round. The brothers also donated the former Lynchburg Inn and Conference Center (now the Residential Annex I) and have donated land on Young Place in Lynchburg for a new transportation center now being planned. The Thomases are the owners of RST Marketing in Forest, Va. They have been involved in real estate developments in the Lynchburg area, including apartment complexes where many Liberty students live.
Dr. Ronald S. Godwin, Lynchburg, Va.
Godwin has served the university and its related ministries for more than 35 years. He is currently the provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. In his administrative career in both business and education, he has held a variety of leadership positions, including two presidencies of private Christian colleges, executive vice president of the Washington Times, executive vice president of the Moral Majority, president of Jerry Falwell Ministries, president of Liberty Broadcasting Network, dean of Liberty’s Helms School of Government and senior administrator of Residential Recruiting. Godwin received his B.A. from Bob Jones University, his M.S. from Old Dominion University, and his Ph.D. in Post-Secondary Planning and Management from Florida State University.
Liberty University Board of Trustees
(Terms expire in November of each year)
Dr. Jerry Prevo, Chairman
Dr. Allen McFarland, Vice Chairman
Jerry Falwell, Jr., Chancellor and President
Members, term to expire 2014
Dr. Doyle Chauncey
J. Marion Compton
Dr. Jack Dinsbeer
Dr. David Rhodenhizer
Jimmy Thomas, Sr.
Dr. Jerry Thorpe
Members, term to expire 2015
Dr. Mark Becton
Dr. Don Crain
Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Dr. Beverly LaHaye
Dr. Tim LaHaye
Dr. Allen McFarland
Dr. Dwight Reighard
Gilbert Tinney, Jr.
Rev. Carl Weiser
Jeffery S. Yager
Members, term to expire 2016
Gaye Overton Benson
Jeffrey F. Benson
Dr. Ronald S. Godwin
William Franklin Graham IV
Rev. Jason Suitt
Steven A. Snyder
Jimmy Thomas, Jr.
Rev. Jonathan Falwell
Dr. Gene Mims
Galen E. Peel, Sr.
Dr. Jerry Prevo
Dr. Jerry Vines