Liberty News

New students fan the Flames at annual Chancellor's Kickoff

August 17, 2013 : By Ted Allen/Liberty University News Service

View a video from the event and


At Friday night’s Chancellor’s Kickoff at Williams Stadium, Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., Athletics Director Jeff Barber, and head football coach Turner Gill — who are each now fathers of Liberty University students — helped fan the Flames of excitement over the new school year and spur the nearly 4,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students on in the spirit of Liberty.

The largest first-year class in the 42-year history of the university filled the lower deck on the home side of the football stadium, with most decked out in red or blue and their faces reflecting the promise, hope, and anticipation of what the next four years of their lives will entail. Fall 2013 semester classes begin on Monday.

The sixth annual event, which served as a pep rally of sorts for Liberty University Athletics, was sponsored by the Center for Academic Support and Advising Services, with organizational support from Liberty Athletics and the Student Activities office. The Liberty University Marching Band and cheerleaders provided game-day atmosphere.

Falwell gave his opening remarks after firing red Flames T-shirts into the crowd.

“Welcome to Liberty University. We’re so thrilled that each of you chose Liberty for your college education and we think you’re going to have the best four years of your life, starting right now,” he said.

With Alan York, the “Voice of the Flames,” serving as emcee, Student Activities and Liberty Athletics staff helped keep the crowd entertained with a placekicking competition and Dizzy Trike races. The first-place race team members, from East Campus residence halls 91 and 76, were designated as 12th Man contest winners (a Liberty Football tradition) earning the opportunity to lead the Flames onto the field for their first home game, Sept. 7 against Monmouth.

Barber introduced all of the fall sports teams and their coaching staffs before the football team made a spirited entrance as the band played the theme song from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Barber challenged Flames fans to become faithful supporters of Liberty’s up-and-coming programs. He encouraged them to join the Student Flames Club and take part in the tradition of camping outside Williams Stadium before Liberty home football games in “Gillville,” where loyal fans are treated to a dinner, a movie, and breakfast served by Gill, with a select few given the chance to pay a 15-minute visit to Falwell’s skybox during the game.

Falwell said sports has always been “a big part of what’s made Liberty what it is, so it’s so important for us to move our athletic programs up to the top levels of NCAA athletics.”

“We’re moving toward an FBS conference now and we need you to support the teams to help us do that now,” he told the students. “Athletics is the only way many people see what Liberty’s all about, so it’s so important. It’s a way that we shine a light on what God’s doing here and our vision for Liberty University so we ask you to please be a strong supporter of Liberty University Athletics.”

The festivities concluded with a chance for the students to watch one of the final football workouts for Liberty's 2013 August training camp.

Friday night’s event was a highlight of Student Activities’ Fall Welcome Week 2013, which continues with a Back To School Bash on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Schilling Center and precedes next Saturday’s annual Block Party, open to all students.

Flames fans from around the community are invited to visit Williams Stadium this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. for the annual Flames Football Fan Fest.

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