News & Events

Board of Trustees News: Dr. Allen McFarland named Interim Board Chairman; Board pledges full commitment to spiritual mission, launches independent investigation

September 24, 2020

Dr. Allen McFarland

Liberty University welcomed the appointment of Vice Chairman Dr. Allen McFarland (D.D., D.Min.), as Interim Chairman of the Board of Trustees on Aug. 18.

“I’m excited about this role,” said Dr. McFarland. “During this interim period, the spiritual health and wellness of our leadership is critical to fulfilling the mission set forth in 1971.”

For over two decades, Dr. McFarland has served residential undergraduate and graduate students as an adjunct professor in the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity. “The students at Liberty University are our greatest assets and we must make them proud with the work we are called to as leaders.”

“We are so fortunate at Liberty University to have Dr. Allen McFarland become our Interim Chairman, a man of great faith who follows God’s calling wherever it takes him,” said President Jerry Prevo. “This is a historic appointment at Liberty as Dr. McFarland is a distinguished national leader who will be particularly impactful as we continue to broaden our outreach to the African American community to join our mission in Training Champions for Christ.”

With this appointment, Dr. McFarland becomes the first African American to chair the Board of Trustees at Liberty University.

Dr. McFarland has served as the Pastor of Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Va., since 1982 and has served on the Liberty University Board of Trustees since 1991. He is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia and was honored among the Nation’s 70 Most Influential Black Christian History Makers who are living today by the Black Christian News Network. Dr. McFarland also serves on the Board of Directors for Kids Across America, Baptist Fellowship Association, and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE).


Liberty University’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of its Board of Trustees, issued the following statement on Aug. 31:

This past week challenged all of us to the core. While we had been willing to extend grace and understanding to Jerry Falwell Jr. before, once the revelations about his past personal life came more fully to light, we acted swiftly and decisively to ask for his immediate resignation, which we received.

Some may say that all the signs were there for a long time before last week. It’s certainly fair to say that there were questionable comments made, worrying behavior, and inappropriate social media posts, but all the signs were not there until the start of last week. While we still didn’t know the full scope of the matter, we have learned enough about the past to know that we had no choice but to take the leadership of Liberty University in a new direction.

We are also committed to learning the consequences that have flowed from a lack of spiritual stewardship by our former president. One of the leading forensic firms in the world has been retained by Liberty University’s Board of Trustees to conduct a thorough investigation into all facets of Liberty University operations during Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president, including but not limited to financial, real estate, and legal matters.

Throughout these past few weeks, we knew we were being lifted in prayer by the entire Liberty University community. For this we are especially grateful, as we know it was by the Lord’s grace that we were able to put aside emotion and make the decisions that were necessary and essential for bringing calm to the storm. We thank all those who extended prayerful support!

“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26b

Of course, moving forward, we are very mindful that we must seek leaders who demonstrate a full commitment to the spiritual mission of Liberty University by words, actions, and example. That is why, in addition to starting a search for a new president, we are also reviewing options to establish a new role in the top leadership of the University for someone who will serve as a spiritual coach, mentor, and guide to help ensure that every member of the University leadership fulfills his or her spiritual responsibility to live out the Christian walk expected of each and every one of us at Liberty.

Lastly, we are charging Jerry Prevo to use the full range of his presidential authority to implement any changes necessary to improve the ongoing operations of the University and to enrich the spiritual mission of Liberty University, not only for its students but also for every executive, administrator, faculty member, and the entire staff, and for a prospective new president as well.

We ask for continued prayers as we all manage this transition and for a continued commitment by us all to fulfill our spiritual mission here at Liberty University today and always.

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