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New School of Music announced

September 14, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Liberty's marching band, 'The Spirit of the Mountain,' is a program offered through the new Center for Music and Performing Arts.

Liberty University has announced plans for a new School of Music, merging Liberty’s Department of Music and Humanities and the Department of Worship and Music Studies into a large, comprehensive, and world-class university music school.

The new Liberty University School of Music will become the nation’s seventh-largest school of music with more than 700 undergraduate and nearly 400 graduate students enrolled.

Liberty plans to construct a new academic building for the school as part of a campus transformation now under way. The building will be located directly across the courtyard from Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center. Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., the Provost’s Office, and faculty from the new music school are collaborating on this project, which will include a fine arts auditorium to serve both university and community needs.

Dr. Vernon Whaley has been named dean of the new School of Music at Liberty University.

“This new School of Music is a demonstration of Liberty’s commitment to Training Champions for Christ in all professional endeavors — business, law, communication, and the arts,” said Dr. Ron Godwin, Liberty’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Liberty is dedicated to being a teaching university, and the faculty and staff within the School of Music are committed to providing an exceptional educational experience to every student, and equipping them for their career, whether in ministry or the secular realm.”

In a recent joint faculty meeting of the two departments, Godwin cast his vision to see the school grow to become the largest and most respected music school in the world. He also announced Dr. Vernon Whaley as dean of the new school.

Whaley, who joined Liberty in 2005 as chair of the Department of Worship and Music Studies, holds a Master of Church Music and Doctor of Ministry from Luther Rice Seminary, Master of Arts in Music Education from Middle Tennessee State University, and Doctor of Philosophy from Oklahoma University. He earned his B.A. in Bible and Music (vocal performance) from Free Will Baptist Bible College. Whaley has more than 40 years experience as a music educator, worship leader in large churches; and professional orchestrator, arranger, and Christian music publisher.

“We are excited about what is happening here at the School of Music,” Whaley said. “The doors of opportunity are huge, and we are going to try to walk through every door of opportunity possible. I hope to lead this stunning team of faculty and student musicians to exciting levels of achievement and influence.”

Students of the Center for Music and Worship sing praises during a worship service.

The School of Music is led by a team of highly skilled faculty, including 32 full-time and 24 adjunct members. These faculty members represent a broad base of educational experience, including doctorate and post-graduate degrees from programs at some of the world’s most prestigious university music programs.

The mission of the newly created School of Music is to train and equip musicians as Champions for Christ. The school is comprised of two distinct centers. The Center for Music and the Performing Arts focuses on training musicians to serve as highly skilled performers and educators in a variety of commercial and academic markets, both secular and ministerial. The Center for Music and Worship equips highly skilled musicians to serve as worship practitioners and Christian music industry specialists within the evangelical community.