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Liberty News

President Falwell presented with 2014 Pilgrim Award; students receive surprise gift

April 25, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

President Jerry Falwell receives the 2014 Pilgrim Award for Workplace Evangelism.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell (right) is presented the 2014 Pilgrim Award for Workplace Evangelism by American Bible Society Vice President Charlie Krueger (left) and Bo Pilgrim, the award's namesake.

During Liberty University Convocation on Friday, the American Bible Society (ABS) presented its 2014 Pilgrim Award for Workplace Evangelism to President Jerry Falwell in recognition of his commitment to a lifetime of Christian service.

ABS has existed for nearly 200 years with a mission to make the Bible available to every person in every language. The organization also presented the university with a $10,000 donation.

The award was created in 2008 and its first recipient (for whom it was named) was Texas businessman Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, founder of Pilgrim’s, one of the world’s largest chicken processors.

ABS Vice President Charlie Krueger, who joined Pilgrim on the Convocation stage, said that Pilgrim never forgot to give God the glory, and that President Falwell has done the same at Liberty.

Bo Pilgrim
Pilgrim speaks to students before the award is presented.

“The vision that God put into the heart of the late Dr. Jerry Falwell many years ago to build a world-class university continues today in the heart and the life of his son, President Jerry Falwell,” Krueger said. “We are here to honor him for his leadership in fulfilling the Great Commission around the world, for the many evangelistic outreaches of this great institution, and for keeping the main thing in mind, which is to train champions for Christ.”

Falwell said that he had not seen Pilgrim in 25 years, and that he was honored to find out that he was receiving an award named after him (read full inscription on the award below).

“The true heroes of Liberty University are the faculty, the staff, and the students who have for years sacrificed at Liberty, and angels like Bo Pilgrim who loaned us money when we were first starting out,” Falwell said. “Pilgrim was one of those people who did not know much about us, but he believed in us when we needed it most.”

Pilgrim addressed the students, praising the work of Liberty and talking about his evangelical booklet, “Good News For Modern Man,” of which he has personally distributed over 100,000 copies.

Rick Gage
Alumnus Rick Gage ('98), an evangelist, shares a few words with the student body.

“I love Liberty because it teaches you how to make a living and it teaches you how to live. You cannot beat that combination,” Pilgrim said.

He then surprised students with an even larger donation — each student in attendance (about 10,000) was handed a booklet with a $20 bill tucked inside, a personal gift from Bo Pilgrim totaling $200,000.

Pilgrim received a standing ovation.

Alumnus Rick Gage (’98), founder and president of Go Tell Ministries and the 2010 recipient of the Pilgrim Award, also addressed students. He spoke about his friendship with Bo Pilgrim and his support for Liberty, calling it the “greatest and most exciting campus in the world.”



These words are inscribed on the award:

"In Recognition of President Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. is a leader in business and in higher education who has overseen the most significant expansion of Christian higher education in the 2000-year history of the church.  Under his tenure as president of Liberty University, the university population has more than doubled, the university has added scores of programs including schools of engineering and medicine, and the university has embarked on a massive $500-million reconstruction of its campus while simultaneously adding more than $1-billion to the university's endowment and cash reserves.

As President of Liberty University — now the world's largest Christian university — Falwell is responsible for leading generations of Christian professionals into the marketplace, and into ministry, with an unwavering commitment to the Gospel and to professional excellence.  This year alone, Liberty University will train more than 100,000 students through more than 315 programs of study, and each of those graduates will be inspired to live their lives committed to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Falwell's single priority is to maintain Liberty University's institutional commitment to its original mission even while it experiences unprecedented academic, financial and athletic achievement.

Liberty University will, as it always has, continue to train Champions for Christ.

Luke 12:48 "to whom much is given, much shall be required."

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