December 14, 2012 : By Liberty University News Service - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
The Hancock Welcome Center, Liberty University’s newest landmark, opened for an entire day of celebration on Friday, starting with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.
Members of Liberty’s administration joined about 70 guests for the ceremony, including local and regional leaders and architects and builders for the project.
The three-level, 33,000-square-foot Jeffersonian-style building gives prospective students and their families a comfortable place to meet with Admissions and Financial Aid representatives and learn about other campus services. It features an impressive atrium, a large boardroom, a theater, lounges, a banquet hall, several smaller counseling rooms, and a back patio offering a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is equipped with the latest technology, with touchscreen monitors and interactive photo centers to enhance the visitor experience.
“This is their first impression of Liberty, we wanted it to be the right impression,” said Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. “We wanted it to really make a statement about what Liberty is all about, Training Champions for Christ, excellence in academics and athletics, and this building tells the whole story.”
He said the building is “like none other we’ve ever built here at Liberty.” Construction began in March 2011, but the administration decided to halt interior work to hire an interior architect and add those details and amenities that would make it a first-class, state-of-the-art structure “fitting of the world’s largest Christian university.”
Dr. Ronald Hawkins, vice president for Academic Affairs and vice provost, and Chris Johnson, senior vice president for Enrollment Management, spoke at the ceremony, thanking Falwell for his vision and the architects and designers for the stunning work.
Afterward, everyone was invited to an open house reception and a chance to explore all the rooms and the beautiful Christmas decorations, including eight Christmas trees. A wide variety of food was available on all three levels.
From 1 to 5 p.m., Liberty faculty and staff joined the Falwells at the annual Chancellor’s Christmas Reception.
At 6 p.m., the center hosted its first Christmas at Hancock event for the public. Families enjoyed hot cocoa, apple cider, and treats while decorating Christmas cookies and watching Christmas movies. Carriage rides were available, as well as the chance to meet a special guest for the evening, Santa Claus.