May 26, 2021 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Following Tim Tebow’s Commencement address streamed online on May 15 as the grand finale to a week of degree presentation ceremonies on campus, Liberty University President Dr. Jerry Prevo introduced a two-minute video produced by Liberty’s Marketing Department. The video gave graduates the unique opportunity to hear the words of the university’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, communicate his vision of building a Christian university. It was also played at every degree presentation ceremony for graduates and their families and friends – and it has been shown to faculty, staff, and campus guests throughout the Spring semester.
The message of the video serves as a perfect reminder of the foundation that was laid 50 years ago and a touching tribute to the man who followed God’s calling and is still influencing lives today as thousands more turn their tassels every year and are sent forth as Champions for Christ.
The video begins with an excerpt from Falwell’s Jan. 21, 1977, speech, just six years after the founding of Lynchburg Baptist College, now Liberty University. It shows Falwell speaking to the roughly 2,000 students, faculty, and staff at the future campus grounds and praying over the property, that it might one day become the site of the greatest Christian institution in the world.
In his own words, Falwell explains the phrase Champions for Christ — still part of Liberty’s mission today — and said it is not meant to be a cliché, but a prayer … a prayer that ultimately gives Liberty University purpose. Falwell called Liberty “God’s bootcamp for equipping young people to be articulate leaders and communicators for the Lord.” In addition to obtaining a marketable academic degree, Falwell challenged students to have a strong spiritual dimension, committed to world evangelism and the Great Commission in all walks of life.
It all began with a dream, prayer and fasting, and no money. Today, Liberty University is one of the largest, private, nonprofit universities in the nation, with more than 15,000 residential students and over 100,000 studying in the online program. Over 250,000 alumni are influencing the world in their respective fields.
After the video was shown, Prevo recalled the day when he was named chairman of Liberty’s Board of Trustees 18 years ago. He said he vividly remembers Falwell Sr. charging him with the responsibility to keep fulfilling the university’s vision if he should pass away.
“I’m not here to put my brand on this university,” he told the graduates during the virtual ceremony. “I’m here to keep the brand that Jerry Falwell Sr. laid out 50 years ago. I gave him my word that I would do that. And that’s why I’m standing here today. This is God’s university. It always has been and it always will be.”
Read more on Liberty’s commitment to the founder’s vision and its mission of Training Champions for Christ in the Liberty Journal.