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Paying it Forward

September 20, 2022

Green Cord Campaign blesses former missionary family

Alumni Tom and Diana Turley (’81) remember how difficult financial stress can be for college students and their families. In the middle of their time at Liberty, they served the young college by taking a year off from school to tour with the LBC Singers, one of the university’s music ministry teams. The school was going through some financial difficulties of its own at the time, and they wanted to do what they could to advance
the mission.

“When we left on that bus, we didn’t come back for another year. … I think people forget that tidbit about how Liberty grew. We were out there promoting Liberty,” Diana said.

Soon after they graduated, the young couple moved to Brazil where they would spend 25 years as missionaries before moving to Martinsville, W.Va., where Tom currently serves as the executive pastor for Independent Bible Church.

In 2000, the couple was recognized as Alumni of the Year due to their work on the mission field. 

Charity Turley and her parents with Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell (above) and together this year.

When it came time for their daughter, Charity, to attend college, she followed in her parents’ footsteps to Liberty. But due to her family spending years on the mission field, she knew paying bills would be difficult.

“It took a big leap of faith just for me to make it to Liberty because of finances,” she said. “Because we were on a missionary budget for so long, we didn’t have the chance to save up.”

She was determined to follow the path that she believed the Lord had planned for her, so she enrolled and worked as many hours as she could at the theatre arts scene shop as a technician’s assistant. She is now a junior studying acting and theatre arts.

This summer, the Turley family received an impactful gift — and a huge surprise — when Charity was awarded a scholarship through the university’s Green Cord Campaign.

“We are more than grateful,” Tom Turley said. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of people at Liberty University. Not just with money but even to hear Charity talk about professors that invest time in students and encourage them spiritually. I can’t think of any other place that I would rather have my daughter right now in today’s world.”

After completing her undergraduate degree in 2024, Turley hopes to go on to receive her master’s degree and has considered entering the mission field or sharing her passion for theatre with others by teaching at the collegiate level.

The Liberty University Office of Development and Alumni Relations Office have sponsored the Green Cord campaign since 2015 to help fund scholarships for future Champions for Christ. Though it was originally a Commencement-related campaign, where seniors are asked to contribute $20 or more and, in recognition of their generosity, are provided a green cord to wear with their Commencement regalia, the fund is now open to contributions from any alumni, at any time. The program is a way for alumni, many of whom were scholarship recipients themselves, to pay it forward to others coming along behind them.  

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