Liberty University to welcome medical school

Academic changes and growth lead to new plans to introduce a medical school

Liberty University will soon be adding its own medical school, pending approval of a $12 million grant recommended by the Virginia Tobacco Commission — the second-largest grant in the commission’s history.

The Schools of Health Sciences and Osteopathic Medicine will be housed in a new facility across from the Lynchburg airport, according to the proposal.

“Liberty officials have been planning this new School of Health Sciences, including the medical school, for several years,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr said. “Officials from the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine have played an active role and have been very helpful.”

The new school will be a great asset to the region and is expected to add net new annual spending of $19 million in tobacco localities, 219 direct new faculty and staff jobs and $1.2 million of new state and local tax revenues, according to a Liberty-commissioned economic impact assessment.

“The Executive Director of the Tobacco Commission noted in his report that he believed the Liberty University School of Health Sciences would have a transformative impact on the financially stressed tobacco district of southside Virginia like no other project that the Commission has supported to date,” Falwell said.

Students enrolled in the new school will fulfill their Christian and Community Service hours treating local residents.

“Liberty’s students are already mission-oriented. The response to the SBCV’s (Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia) call for student volunteers to help flood victims in New York is testament to that fact,” Falwell said. “Now, Liberty students will have the opportunity to fulfill their mission of helping others in need in our own backyard of southside Virginia.”

Only a bachelor of science in nursing currently exists at Liberty, so virtually all of the programs — and all 4,000 expected students — will be new to the university. According to the proposal, up to one quarter of all new in-state students are estimated to come from the tobacco region.

Falwell said the money is “already in hand” to cover Liberty’s contribution toward the cost of the school, since the bonds were sold last year. Now, the final step is approval of the state grant.

“This will become one of Liberty’s signature programs in the future, I believe,” Falwell said. “It is one more step toward the original vision for Liberty to become a world class university.”

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