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Liberty Online now 80,000 strong

June 12, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Left to right, Tamela Crickenberger, executive director of enrollment for Liberty Online; Chris Johnson, senior vice president for enrollment management; Dr. Ronald Hawkins, vice president for academic affairs and vice provost; Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr.; Becki Falwell; and Steve Peterson, executive director of admissions for Liberty Online, celebrate the 80,000 milestone on Tuesday.

On Monday, Liberty University Online enrollment reached 80,000 students. Thanks to this stride in its thriving online education program, Liberty has strengthened its standing as the nation’s seventh largest four-year university and largest private, non-profit, four-year college and the largest college in Virginia.

Liberty Online held a special reception on Tuesday to celebrate this landmark, in which employees enjoyed pizza, beverages, and desserts.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his wife, Becki, made a special visit to Liberty Online offices to show their appreciation for all the hard work the staff is doing to advance the online university.

“When we reach milestones like this we never forget the dedication, the perseverance of every single person involved,” Falwell said. “Every phone call you make is important. Every time you interact with somebody you potentially are changing their lives forever.”

Falwell said Liberty Online is exceeding its goals for this year as it continues to grow at a rapid rate.

“Our online student body has a bigger population than the city of Lynchburg,” he said.

Chris Johnson, senior vice president for enrollment management, reminded the staff of its first major milestone of 13,000 online students less than six years ago on Dec. 19, 2006. A plaque honoring that and the many milestones that followed hangs alongside another plaque that celebrates 25,000 online students on March 25, 2008, and every 5,000 students since then.

At the reception, Johnson unveiled a new plaque, celebrating 80,000 online students with room to add more milestones in the months to come.

Johnson said the plaques are “a way to remember the Lord’s blessing, but also the commitment, and sacrifice and hard work that each and every one of you and the many supporting divisions around this university make, in allowing us to take education around the world and Training Champions for Christ.”

Ron Hawkins, vice provost, reminded the staff to be thankful for Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s vision, which his son, Falwell, Jr., shares.

“Liberty is about impacting the culture. Equipping men and women with the knowledge, values, and skills to impact the culture for Jesus Christ,” Hawkins said.

With more than 100 programs of study offered through its online university, Liberty is the world’s largest Christian university. Its 6,800-acre residential campus provides world-class facilities, including a year-round ski slope, to more than 12,500 residential students.

Liberty is poised to hit 100,000 students enrolled this year.