Employees honored for years of service at annual banquet
Liberty University honored close to 400 employees at the Years of Service Banquet on Wednesday, July 10, in the Williams Stadium Club Pavilion.
The banquet, part of the You Matter initiative, has become a tradition at Liberty to show appreciation for the significant contributions each employee makes to carry out the mission of the university. Employees were recognized for milestones they reached, starting with five years and then every subsequent five-year increment up to 35 years.
View the names of employees and their years of service.
Dr. Ronald Godwin, senior vice president for Academic Affairs/provost, welcomed everyone on behalf of the administration.
“It’s a wonderful event when we stop to recognize service and dedication, and the investment of these lives in this great ministry. These kinds of occasions are a treasure.”
Dr. Ronald Hawkins, vice president for Academic Affairs and vice provost, gave the invocation and a theme Scripture for the event from 1 Corinthians 12, a metaphor used to describe the body of Christ. He said every part is “absolutely essential to the healthy working of the whole.”
“One of the great things here today is that we come from every division, every part of the university. We need everybody who’s here. … We celebrate every one of you and we are so grateful for the fact that you come to work every day knowing that you are contributing to the success of the whole.”
Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. acknowledged the contributions of eight employees who are leaving the university after 20 or more years of service and presented them with a plaque and award. They are:
- Dr. Boyd Rist
Rist served Liberty for 40 years. His contributions include teaching history courses as a distinguished professor of history and serving as chair of the division of Social Sciences, associated dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, dean of the faculty, vice president for Academic Affairs, and, most recently, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. He also served for several years as the accreditation liaison for Liberty to its accrediting agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He retired from full-time employment at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
- Dr. James Van Eaton
Van Eaton was a beloved math professor for 35 years. He helped develop several courses, including an astronomy course, a special passion of his. He has been instrumental in creating Liberty’s own observatory, currently under construction on Liberty Mountain, and will remain active in this project after retirement.
- Dr. Paul Fink
Fink has served on the School of Religion faculty for 34 years. His influence in the areas of inductive Bible study and homiletics has served as a pillar for the curriculum of the School of Religion.
- Dr. Homer Blass
Blass taught a wide range of courses at Liberty for 30 years, including American Diplomacy, American History, Modern Russia, Modern Germany, and Modern Middle East.
- Janice DeLong
DeLong has served on the faculty for 28 years. She worked in the School of Education and College of General Studies, taught Children’s Literature and Bibliotherapy. Since 2004, she has served full time in the Department of English & Modern Languages.
- Elizabeth Ann Rowlette
Rowlette served 27 years with Liberty University and Liberty Christian Academy, a ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church. She has been responsible for overseeing the university’s INFT (Information Technology) assessment and course, as well as implementing key portions of the general education curriculum.
- Dr. Nancy Anderson
Anderson taught a wide range of psychology courses at Liberty for 25 years.
- Joann Gilmore
Gilmore has been with the School of Business for close to 20 years, where she has taught accounting courses both residentially and online. She will continue to serve as an adjunct professor in the accounting program.
Read full bios of each of these honorees.
Falwell, who is celebrating 25 years of service at Liberty, used the opportunity to talk about its rich history and how, without the dedication of many in the “pioneer days,” Liberty would not be the successful university it is today.
Recently, Falwell visited a few of the places associated with Liberty’s roots with his family. Both old Thomas Road Baptist Church and Treasure Island in the James River are owned by Liberty – and are currently undergoing renovation. What Falwell sees now is “a real testament that God’s hand has been at work” through the lives of those committed to the mission.
“A lot of it is because of the eight people we are honoring today and the many others invited here today … We thank you for the difference you’ve made.”