Many on the campus of Liberty University are thrilled with the opportunity to “eat more chicken,” as the latest addition to the Tilley Student Center, a new Chick-fil-A Express restaurant, officially opened for business on Thursday.
“Everyone loves Chick-fil-A,” sophomore Josh Imbriano said. “Having a location on campus is convenient, it provides a little bit more variety.”
Junior Roger Bryan added that he not only enjoys the food at Chick-fil-A, but appreciates their Christian values as well.
“If I am going to eat at a fast-food restaurant, that is where I (would) go first,” he said. “I go there and I support it. And I love the fries.”
Liberty has strong ties to the popular fast-food chain, whose company values mirror those of the university in many ways.
Chick-fil-A has been a dining option at Liberty for five years and local chains have had sponsor relationships with Liberty University Athletics for more than a decade. They are the lone sponsor for the Flames Kids Club.
The relationship has brought top executives of the company to Liberty’s campus on multiple occasions. Most recently, Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy received an honorary doctorate degree from Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. at Commencement in May.
When presenting the degree, Falwell cited Cathy’s “commitment to faith and excellence in business, and for modeling the vision of Liberty University to the world” — that, and Cathy’s knack for making a delicious chicken sandwich, which even presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the Commencement speaker, admitted to having a healthy appetite for.
In September 2007 Cathy participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Liberty’s first Chick-fil-A in a newly renovated food court in Green Hall. The food court closed in September 2011 and the restaurant was temporarily moved to the Vines Center.
Cathy founded Chick-fil-A in 1946, which now operates more than 1,600 locations nationwide.
With a major campus transformation under way, Liberty may very well become the first university to have two Chick-fil-A sites as a second location is being planned on campus. The site is yet to be determined, according to Lee Beaumont, vice president of Auxiliary Services.
“We welcome Chick-fil-A and the values they stand for,” he said.