President Falwell receives TPUSA award three days before Liberty football claims its first bowl game victory
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. received TPUSA’s Patriot of the Year Award on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the nonprofit’s second annual Winter Gala in Palm Beach, Fla.
TPUSA Founder and CEO Charlie Kirk, who partnered with Falwell last month to launch The Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, recognized Falwell for his strong support for then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 despite heavy criticism.
“Jerry, you went early for the president,” Kirk said in front of over 700 TPUSA supporters in attendance. “… It was hard. You received backlash, and you stood your ground. That will never be forgotten. And that courage that you demonstrated is exactly why we are honored to give you the Patriot of the Year Award.”
Falwell leads one of the largest Christian universities in America, which serves over 100,000 residential and online students. Since its inception in 1971, Liberty has remained a resilient advocate for traditional, conservative values, and intertwining biblical worldview in its classrooms and curriculum.
Liberty now retains a 7,000-acre, $1.6 billion campus, with state-of-the-art facilities and over 600 unique programs of study. Liberty also boasts 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs and is the largest employer in Lynchburg, Va., employing roughly 2,500 full- and part-time faculty.
“The Christian conservative students at Liberty have direction. They have purpose,” Kirk said. “It’s refreshing to see a conservative institution grow in that kind of track record. And I’m honored to be partnering with Jerry and Liberty University on our new think tank, the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty.”
On Nov. 30, Falwell and Kirk officially launched the Falkirk Center, an initiative that addresses the intersection of the Gospel of Jesus and Constitutional liberty.
TPUSA (Turning Point USA), a youth organization launched by Kirk in 2012, seeks to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government, according to its website.
The non-profit bolsters its mission through high school and college campus networks, called “chapters,” and is represented by over 1,500 campuses across America.
“We’re thankful for the partnership Charlie and TPUSA have made with us, helping us to get the word out about what we followers of Jesus and Jefferson believe and what we should do in the civic arena,” Falwell said in his acceptance speech. “That’s what Liberty is all about.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also received the distinguished accolade, and conservative lawyer and radio personality Mark Levin received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Both individuals briefly addressed attendees with acceptance speeches.
The Winter Gala occurred three days before Liberty’s football team claimed victory in its first-ever bowl game matchup (23-16) against Georgia Southern in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s just common sense that if you take simple business principles and apply them in whatever profession you happen to be in — and you have limited government, free enterprise, individual liberties — then you end up with what has been the most successful experiment in the history of humankind: the United States of America,” Falwell said.