Faith & Service

Liberty University Becomes Virginia’s First Purple Heart University

October 11, 2017

Each story in this special feature section demonstrates a tenet of the “We The Champions” Declaration, part of a university-wide project that aims to tell the world how Liberty is fulfilling its mission of Training Champions for Christ.

We The Champions: Defend Freedom

Liberty paid special tribute to Purple Heart recipients by lighting the top of Freedom Tower on national Purple Heart Day, Aug. 7.

In July, Liberty University became the first college in Virginia to be designated as a Purple Heart University. The honor comes from the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) in recognition of Liberty’s support of military members, veterans, and their families.

Signs were installed at the entrances to campus, and a parking space is reserved near DeMoss Hall for Purple Heart recipients and other combat wounded veterans. The space is conveniently located for those visiting the Veterans Center in the Montview Student Union.

The Purple Heart is the nation’s oldest military award, introduced as the “Badge of Military Merit” by Gen. George Washington in 1782. It is one of the most respected medals that U.S. military members can receive.

Combat wounded student veteran Jesse MacDonald said the Purple Heart University recognition is a testament to Liberty’s efforts to create and maintain a university that is supportive of all military members, both during and after service.

“This parking space helps to show the commitment level of Liberty University to combat wounded veterans,” MacDonald said. “Any veterans looking into schools should consider Liberty because of their strong support. The school has invested a great deal into veterans, and I cannot say enough about the support I receive here.”

About 30 percent of all Liberty students have a connection to the military, with 30,000 service members, veterans, and military spouses studying through Liberty’s online programs around the world.


Every November, Liberty University holds Military Emphasis Week, offering multiple opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to honor our nation’s military. The Flames Men’s Hockey Team will kick off events on Saturday, Nov. 4, with a military appreciation hockey game. Additional events happening Nov. 6-11 include a special prayer service for fallen heroes, a military Convocation, and a reception for veterans who are part of the Liberty community. The week will culminate with a full day of activities on Veterans Day, including a parade, a memorial trail race, and a tailgate for military families before the military appreciation Flames Football game. A Liberty tradition, the game features a patriotic halftime show and the announcement of the George Rogers Champion of Freedom Award winner. Many of the past award winners have been Purple Heart recipients.

The Lynchburg Veterans Day Parade is a welcome addition to this year’s lineup. Lynchburg has not seen a Veterans Day parade for 79 years. The parade, organized by the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council, will begin at 9 a.m. on campus and will honor all Armed Forces veterans. Veterans groups will be featured, as well as marching bands and civic organizations from around the greater Lynchburg community. (For more information, visit

The university is also hosting an #HonorThem Online Engagement Day Nov. 9, a social media event offering the Liberty community a unique way to thank all veterans, including those who are studying online with Liberty. Exclusive giveaways are planned.

For a full schedule of events, visit

The Office of Military Affairs works throughout the year to ensure that Liberty’s military students and their families receive the support to succeed in their academic and professional careers. Visit for more information on education benefits and resources.

To be involved in the “We The Champions” project and read more inspiring stories from the Liberty community, visit and follow #WeTheChampions on social media.

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