Out of the over 17,800 graduates honored at Liberty University’s 41st Commencement, 5,185 — nearly 30 percent — were active, reserve, or retired military.
During the third annual Military Graduate Recognition Ceremony held at the Vines Center following Baccalaureate, members of Liberty University’s administration instilled in those graduates a healthy sense of pride in completing their degrees, whether on campus or online, stateside or in active duty overseas.
“Tonight is a night to declare victory … that we can be joyful … to set aside time for celebration,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Dees, U.S. Army, retired, who serves as Liberty’s associate vice president for military outreach. He said there is a quiet satisfaction that comes from a duty well performed. “You, Liberty University military graduates, have performed a duty very, very well. We are very honored that you have done this. We affirm you. We applaud you, and most of all, we give praise to our God on high.”
He commended the military graduates for going above and beyond the call of duty by earning their degrees and called on them to be merchants of hope and Champions for Christ in the military and beyond.
“You have selflessly served your nation at home and abroad, often at the risk of your very lives, and I honor you and I thank you,” Dees said. “We value that. We appreciate that. The challenge from me to you tonight, as military graduates, in your military service and the rest of your lives, is not to doubt in the dark what you know to be true in the light, the light of Jesus Christ.”
Earlier in the day, Liberty held two special commissioning ceremonies for its Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs in the Towns-Alumni Lecture Hall. The Liberty Eagle Battalion Army ROTC commissioned 20 officers and Liberty’s U.S. Air Force ROTC Detachment 890 commissioned eight, sworn in as second lieutenants in their respective branches. As is tradition, each graduating cadet was presented with a pin signifying their rank, followed by their first salute.