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Former head of Thomas Nelson Publishers visits Liberty

Sam Moore, former CEO and President of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., was the special guest at Wednesday convocation.

Under Moore’s leadership in the 1970s and 80s, Thomas Nelson became the world’s largest Bible and Christian book publisher. It developed the New King James Bible in 1976.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. introduced Moore as “one of my father’s closest friends and Liberty University’s top donors.”

“He donated over $2 million to the university in the 1990s, when we needed it the most,” Falwell said, adding that over the years Moore has advised Liberty leaders on fundraising and marketing strategies.

Moore, a Lebanese immigrant, spoke about coming to America at age 19, barely able to speak English, but with a willingness to work hard. Six months after his arrival he found a job as a door-to-door salesman for Bibles and other Christian resources. That was the start of a successful career in the printing and publishing business. He began his own Bible-selling company called Royal Publishers, Inc. in Nashville in 1959. In 1969 his company purchased British-based publisher Thomas Nelson.

Moore also spoke on his relationship with the late Dr. Jerry Falwell — “a man of faith” — and witnessing the start of the Moral Majority at a dinner with him and other evangelical leaders at the home of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

“I have never seen a man like Jerry Falwell. He loved God from his head down to his toes,” he said, showing his gold-plated Jesus First pin he has kept for more than 15 years as a souvenir from Falwell.

Moore shared ways to be successful as a Christian in the business world and, in closing, he told students: “You can’t quit. … When you quit is when you lose. And that is what opportunity is all about.”

Earlier this year, Liberty announced Moore’s vision to greatly expand the School of Business, with a personal goal of donating a $5 million matching gift that would lure more donors and pay for major upgrades.

“Sam Moore called me about three years ago and shared with me his vision to create a world–class School of Business here at Liberty University,” Falwell said. “His vision for the School of Business is to not only train those who plan to go into the business world, but also to train pastors how to manage the business operations of their churches after they graduate here.”

Falwell said he and Moore have been discussing whether the soon-to-be-named Sam Moore School of Business would be on the fourth floor of Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center or in a new facility constructed near Campus North.

Liberty’s Development Office has already received two checks for the campaign — $50,000 from a Texas donor and $7,500 from a Virginia donor. The total, $57,500, becomes $115,000 when matched with Moore’s gift.

Falwell said Moore is one of several Liberty supporters he has invited to campus to speak to students.

“This year, now that the election is behind us, I’ve invited some of the heroes who have helped make Liberty University what it is today, to speak in convocation. I want you to meet the people whose names you see on the buildings,” he told students.

Scheduled to speak in the spring are Arthur L. Williams, whose family donated the football stadium, the Vines Center and the Hancock Athletic Building to the university, and a member of the DeMoss family, for which DeMoss Learning Center — the main academic building on campus — was named.

Liberty University’s School of Business offers specializations in Management, Marketing, International Business, Human Resource Management, Economics, and Finance.

To learn more about the Sam Moore School of Business matching gift campaign, call (866) 602-7983.

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