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Graduate gets her degree – and a personal visit from the chancellor

July 16, 2010 : Sarah Wittcop

For Liberty University graduate Julie Celano, graduation day did not go as planned. Although she walked across the stage at her degree presentation ceremony, Celano’s name was inadvertently not announced. To rectify the mishap, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Vice Chancellor Dr. Ron Godwin traveled to Celano’s home Thursday in Baltimore, Md., to present her diploma.

With her family proudly looking on, Falwell – dressed in full regalia – conferred Celano’s degree in the living room of her home — awarding her diploma and recognizing her accomplishment.

"You exemplify what we want Liberty graduates to be, and we are just honored that you chose Liberty University," Falwell told Celano.

An education major, Celano graduated with honors and a minor in youth ministries.
“She is one of our top graduates,” Falwell said.

For Julie’s mother, Maureen Celano, observing the university’s chancellor personally confer her daughter’s college degree was another opportunity to beam with pride.

“Graduation was the end of one thing and the beginning of another,” she said. “I look at Julie and I see the beginning of her future.”

Not only does she consider living on Liberty’s campus a highlight of her life, but Celano states emphatically that Liberty challenged her faith and prepared her to meet her professional and ministry goals.

“I grew so much as a Christian,” she said. “I am convinced that Liberty is the most unique and amazing university in the world.”

Celano is currently pursuing a career in teaching, with future hopes to incorporate her love for children and ministry as a teacher overseas.


  • For more on Julie and the chancellor’s visit to Baltimore, be sure to read the next issue of the Liberty Journal later this summer.