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Student Life

Time to Dine

November 28, 2023

The new 120,000-square-foot Reber-Thomas Dining Center opened at the start of the fall semester, allowing Liberty to better accommodate a growing campus population and provide more variety of food options. The two-story building can seat more than 3,000, with outdoor and indoor tables. There are 27 different food stations and a gluten-free bake shop, an allergen-free room, and chef stations for teaching culinary arts. 

Meet The Namesakes

The new dining hall retains the names of the two generous donors who made Liberty’s first large dining facility possible.

In 1992, local businessmen Jimmy Thomas Sr. (left) and Dan Reber donated $1.4 million to complete construction on the first dining hall and help fulfill the vision of Liberty’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell.

Members of the Reber and Thomas families attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 9 and were recognized for their legacies at Liberty.

Thomas, who began working in Liberty’s stewardship department in 1971, said the building is a beautiful addition to campus.

“It’s hard to believe that you could build something like that and have all the variation. You could eat something different for days and days. … I don’t think there’s a nicer dining hall in the country.”

Partners in business and ministry, Reber and Thomas felt called to support the school through the financial struggles of the 1990s.

“When the Lord helped us, and we were able to bless Jerry in times of difficulty, it was a natural thing to do,” Thomas said. “The Lord just laid it on our hearts.”

He said other recent construction upgrades are evidence of the vision being realized.

“It’s a miracle. God has His hands on Liberty. … I think Jerry Falwell Sr. would not be surprised (to see it today). I think he could see this almost from Day 1.”

Reber said the Jerry Falwell Ministries ultimately brought his family to Lynchburg in early 1980, a month before his fifth daughter was born. He had watched the Thomas Road Baptist Church services each Sunday and was excited about seeing his daughters grow up in the blessings of God’s work.

“Watching the ministry grow and the college expand into a university, and our family able to be a part of all that, has made a mark on our lives and has helped shape our daughters, and now their families, into who they are today,” he said. “We thank the Lord for the vision He put into Dr. Falwell’s heart and mind to establish Liberty University and Train Champions for Christ. As we have witnessed each new structure being built and the amazing growth of the student body, we are so grateful to have been just a small part of what God has done here.” 

Guests are always welcome at the new dining hall. For hours of operation, visit Liberty.SodexoMyWay.com. To learn about other dining options on campus, visit Liberty.edu/Dining.

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