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Liberty students form a giant LU.
Student Life

New to LU

October 18, 2016

Freshman class contributes to record number
of residential students

Incoming students were met with “Welcome to Liberty” cheers as they poured onto campus in record numbers during Welcome Week, Aug. 24-27. Student leaders greeted their newest classmates and helped them move into their residence halls, keeping the task manageable and the mood light. Amidst the unpacking, students took time to toss footballs or jam out to their favorite tunes on the spacious green lawns now
crossing campus.

The new students helped raise the residential population to about 15,000 — the highest in university history. A record 8,100 students are living on campus this semester.

Before classes started on Aug. 29, new students were introduced to many of Liberty’s athletics traditions at the annual Freshman Kickoff in Williams Stadium on Aug. 26. During the enthusiastic pep rally, the newest campus residents unleashed their school spirit in a torrent of cheers and victory cries, spurred on by Flames cheerleaders and The Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band. They practiced game day traditions and heard from Athletics Director Jeff Barber, Liberty Flames Sports Network personalities, and various head coaches, including Flames Football Coach Turner Gill, Lady Flames Basketball Coach Carey Green, Flames Basketball Coach Ritchie McKay, and new Flames Baseball Coach Scott Jackson.

The Class of 2020 joined all of their peers at the university’s first Convocation of the semester on Aug. 31, where thousands came together in the Vines Center to worship and pray for the upcoming academic year. Liberty’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, would often welcome new students to campus at the start of a new school year. This year, students listened to the inspiring words of Liberty’s founder through a video recorded over a decade ago. Dr. Falwell is seen sharing some of Liberty’s history and its mission to Train Champions for Christ.

Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, gave the first Convocation address of the school year, challenging students to be “fit for the finish” that God has in store for their lives.

“I believe firmly in my heart that great finishes never happen at the finish line; they happen when we begin,” he said. “The commitment you have today will determine the finish you have later on.”

At the end of the first week of classes, Student Activities hosted the annual Block Party on Sept. 3. Students enjoyed carnival rides and games, learned about clubs, and sampled a variety of delicious snacks from local food trucks. Free entertainment was provided by the upbeat sounds of popular Christian artists Dave Barnes, Colony House, and Lynchburg, Va.-based Vacation Manor. The night was capped by a spectacular fireworks show.

On Sept. 14, university President Jerry Falwell introduced Convocation speaker Vernon Brewer, Liberty’s first graduate. Falwell then recognized and thanked Provost Ron Hawkins and Vice Provost Ben Gutierrez for their extraordinary efforts to fly to Pennsylvania to award a degree to student Jason McIlwain two days before he lost his long battle with cancer (read the Sept. 14 news story at Liberty.edu/News).

The president also announced that Governor Mike Pence had contacted him after reading Falwell’s op-ed in The Washington Post. (Pence spoke at Convocation on Oct. 12.)

Breaking records:

  • 4,000 Incoming students
  • 15,000 Residential students
  • 8,100 Students living on campus
  • 3.48 Highest average incoming GPA
  • 1067 Highest average SAT score
  • 23.8 Highest average ACT score
  • 54 National Merit Scholars (including a record 27 finalists)

Where did they come from? After the U.S., the highest represented countries for the Class of 2020 are Korea, Canada, China, Nigeria, and Brazil. The top five states represented are Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida.

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