Liberty News

Business magazine shows Liberty’s impact on local economy, labor force

June 5, 2018 : Liberty University News Service

Site Selection, an internationally circulated business publication, recently highlighted Lynchburg as a model city for vibrant economic development, due in part to Liberty University’s growth and rising talent pool.

“Lynchburg has transformed from a company town into an entrepreneurial one,” wrote Ron Starner, executive vice president of Conway, Inc., which publishes Site Selection.

The article, “What America Can Learn from Lynchburg, Virginia,” highlighted how Liberty’s Entrepreneur’s Center is not just cultivating up-and-coming talent, but also connecting it with employers both in the region and across the nation:

Companies are taking note of the progress. “Dozens of Fortune 500 firms come here to recruit our students,” says Jonathan Whitt, vice president of outreach and business engagement for LU. “Apple and Microsoft love our students.”

[Liberty President Jerry] Falwell says he hears the same from area employers. “Companies here want to hire our students. Their work ethic and behavior make them great employees and great tenants,” he says. “And the education they receive is of the highest quality.”

Site Selection also noted Liberty’s tremendous growth, quoting Falwell, who explained the university’s commitment to financial stewardship:

“There is no such thing as standing still,” Falwell says. “Higher education is getting more competitive all the time. Most colleges and universities don’t adapt quickly. We do. We operate more like a business.”

The article pointed out that only one other college in America — Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh — saw its endowment grow at a faster percentage rate than Liberty’s $1.6 billion endowment last year. LU has spent $1 billion on new facilities over the last 10 years and shows no signs of slowing, it reads.

Starner also described the area’s growing technology sector, citing the region as one of the two most important regions in the nation for nuclear technology.

He quoted two local leaders, one in nuclear technology and another in software, who said that the talent, character, and work ethic of the area’s labor force — including many LU graduates who stay in Lynchburg — make the city’s human capital attractive to employers.

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