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Liberty News

New students introduced to Liberty campus, Flames spirit

August 17, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Liberty University welcomed its largest incoming freshman class, of nearly 3,000 students, with an exciting lineup this week, including a Community Welcome Fair, Chancellor’s Kickoff Dinner, and several fun student activities, all part of Fall Welcome Week 2012.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, members of Liberty’s Student Leadership assisted freshmen as they moved into the residence halls.

Along with Orientation, Freshman Seminar and Registration, which began on Wednesday, the Liberty University Career Center hosted its third-annual Community Welcome Fair on the concourse of the Vines Center. The fair is designed to introduce students to the city and all that it has to offer.

“We wanted people to know that there is more to Lynchburg than just Liberty,” said Melissa Calloway, events coordinator at the Career Center.

Representatives from a number of area businesses were in attendance, as well as staff from many departments of the university.

On Thursday night freshmen gathered at Williams Stadium, while parents looked on from the upper deck, for the Chancellor’s Kickoff Dinner.

The event is held in a pep rally format to ignite Liberty Flames spirit within new students and to introduce them to some of the athletics traditions. It is organized by the Center for Academic Support and Advising Services, Student Activities, and Liberty Athletics.

Competitions, including field goal kicking and a dizzy trike race, gave freshmen a chance to earn prizes, and Flames cheerleaders launched T-shirts into the crowd.

The Class of 2016 had the opportunity to hear from Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. for the first time. He told them that not only are they the largest incoming class to date, they are also “the smartest,” with the highest GPA, highest SAT scores, and the most national merit scholars.

Falwell and his wife, Becki, have been hosting this event for the last four years and enjoy the opportunity to greet a number of students and introduce them to the exciting atmosphere of Flames Athletics.

“We are excited to see Liberty come where it has so fast. God has blessed this school in so many ways,” Falwell said. “From the beginning we have seen athletics as a way to shine light on our Christian mission. That is why we need you to be heard, cheering loud, and supporting the team.”

Alan York, “The Voice of the Flames,” along with Liberty’s cheerleaders, band, and mascot, Sparky, led the students in the fight song and cheers to prepare them to join the masses of red-clad Flames fans.

Jeff Barber, director of Athletics, explained some of Liberty’s traditions, encouraged students to attend every home game and to cheer loudly from start to finish.

“Be early, be loud, and wear red,” he said, citing a Flames fan motto.

Before the event ended, Turner Gill, head coach of the Flames Football team (now in his first year at Liberty), charged up the crowd and introduced the 18 freshman members of his squad.

“This is the most exciting time to be at Liberty University,” he said. “Not just from an athletics side, but academically, socially, and spiritually.”

He challenged them to be the loudest class in the history of Liberty, setting the standard not just for the university, but for the world.

With that, the 2012 Flames Football team stormed the field in gameday fashion, to a roar of the crowd. Students had a chance to watch one of their final workouts of the 2012 August training camp.

For more coverage of the event, visit

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