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U.S. Sen. Tim Scott delivers Commencement keynote address at Liberty University

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott provided the keynote address at the 2024 Commencement ceremony.

Providing the keynote address for the Liberty University 2024 Commencement during Friday night’s Main Ceremony in William Stadium, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott urged graduates to live lives of boldness and fully commit to serving God.

This year’s Commencement honored over 29,000 Liberty graduates in the Class of 2024. In addition to the Main Commencement Ceremony, Liberty held 28 separate degree ceremonies on campus Thursday through Saturday. Friday’s ceremony also included messages from former Secretary of State and Distinguished Chair of the Helms School of Government Mike Pompeo and Liberty President Dondi Costin. Duck Commander CEO and the parent of a Liberty graduate Willie Robertson offered the closing prayer.

Liberty President Dondi Costin

Following a time of worship, Liberty Chancellor Jonathan Falwell provided a brief invocation, noting that his two daughters graduated with their master’s degrees this year.

“Liberty University has always been a place, since 1971, where we Train Champions for Christ,” he said. “And now, while we’ve been doing that for 53 years, it’s exciting to see and exciting to know that we have not stopped nor will we ever stop doing that singular thing of training up young champions who will go into a world that desperately needs to see, hear, and know what light looks like. That light flows from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thank you, students, for what you are about to do as you leave this place and go change the world.”

Falwell next introduced Pompeo, who shared about the importance of service, noting the role that Liberty has played in supporting students serving in the military. Over 2,000 members of the Class of 2024 are active duty service members; more than 6,000 have military ties.

“Liberty and faith are sacred things,” Pompeo said. “They are worthy of being defended.  Throughout 250 years of American history, our nation has always depended on the willingness of incredible men and women, and their families to sacrifice for it, to fight for it, and even to give their lives for it. The history of Americans serving this country and its freedoms is noble and decent. And it is a tradition that continues today. And this university is a big part of it.”

President Costin encouraged the students to remain Champions for Christ as they leave the university and go out into their respective careers. He noted that Christians are often asked to overcome tremendous hardships in life but willingly do so knowing that God is always with them.

“It’s your turn to make a difference in the places God has called — and will call — you to serve. It’s your turn to show the world the difference Jesus Christ makes in a society doing its best to run away from God,” he said. “It’s your turn to demonstrate that everything the Bible says about how to flourish as a human made in God’s image is now and always has been the best way to live. It’s your turn to put your faith into action as a Champion for Christ.”

He highlighted specific examples of Liberty graduates who have overcome tremendous struggles to complete their college degrees and noted that God will give the Class of 2024 what they need to be themselves successful in whatever they set their minds to. He also shared many of the achievements and milestones Liberty celebrated this year in academics and athletics and praised students for their service to others and for standing up for the unborn and for the nation of Israel.

“You have been made to live your life for the good of others and the glory of God. There is no greater sense of meaning and purpose than that,” he said. “The world will try to tell you to consider that degree you’ve earned as a license to run after possessions, power, position, and popularity at all costs. It’s a lie. Don’t fall for it. Champions for Christ live differently because they live for eternity. They are more interested in giving than getting. They are more invested in laying up for themselves treasures in heaven than treasures here on earth. They understand that their life began at conception, but the resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof positive that their life never ends.”

Chancellor Jonathan Falwell

Costin next introduced Scott, noting that the two-term senator has been a Champion for Christ through his business and political careers. Joined on stage by Chancellor Falwell and Chief Academic Officer and Provost Dr. Scott Hicks, Costin presented Sen. Scott with an honorary Doctor of Humanities.

A native of North Charleston, S.C., Senator Scott has served his home state in the U.S. Senate since 2013. Having grown up mired in poverty in a single-parent household, he has worked as a tireless advocate creating more opportunities for families living paycheck-to-paycheck and helping children in poverty have access to quality education. He launched his Opportunity Agenda, a legislative package aimed at achieving these goals, as well as the Senate Opportunity Coalition, a group of Senators committed to helping those in need. He is a member of Seacoast Church of Charleston.

Scott opened his remarks by praising God for His continued faithfulness in ensuring that each graduate in attendance made it to graduation.

“I believe there are a lot of graduates sitting here today with tears rolling in their eyes and a heart of gratitude because if we all knew what God had to do to get you to your seats, we would all stand up and give you a standing ovation,” he said. “I thank God Almighty we live in a country where we are free to praise the living God, the One and the True God.”

Scott gave students three “pieces of the puzzle” for life, with advice that he would like to have if he himself was a recent college graduate. First, he noted that “failure isn’t fatal if you don’t quit.” Sharing from his own experience as a child growing up in poverty, he said that he learned from an early age the importance of having a “victorious” mindset instead of a victim mindset.

He next argued that “if you want to stand out in life, stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves,” highlighting specifically those in the Jewish community who are facing increased levels of antisemitism in the United States as well as others battling poverty or other types of adversity.

“If you want to stand out in life, stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. I can’t think of a better time for the body of Christ to stand for our Jewish brothers and sisters in the United States of America on college campuses. I’m sick and tired of seeing antisemitism on college campuses spread like a cancer. I think it’s high time we tell the colleges and universities that allow for Jewish genocide to be spoken and the call for mass murder: to those colleges and universities, your federal funding is a privilege; it is not a right. What is a right is for every single Jewish student to walk to their class safely. What is a right is for every Jewish student to study in the library at peace. We should take the money from those universities and colleges that continue to spew hate and give it to a God-fearing place called Liberty University.”

In his closing remarks, Scott told the graduates to “step out of the boat” if they hope to “walk on water.” He argued that Christians must be willing to take risks if they hope for God to use their lives in miraculous ways.

“Someone somewhere might need your big dream and your test of faith to deliver them from their circumstances,” Scott said.

Hicks then conferred the degrees, assuring the graduates that God will guide them in their quest to praise Him.

Robertson closed the festivities with the benediction, before the celebration concluded with a fireworks display set to music orchestrated by Liberty music students.

“I loved all the speakers, the message, and the fireworks,” said graduate Peyton Weist, from Emerald Island, N.C., who received his B.S. in Aeronautics: Commercial/Corporate. “I loved it. It was very inspirational. I’d love to do it again. It was amazing. I’m really glad I came here. I work as a flight instructor here right now and I’ve loved my time here. It’s been very enjoyable, great people, great place to be.”

“It’s been amazing,” said Pamela Knight, from Houston, who completed her B.S. in Bible — Christian Counseling through Liberty University Online Programs over the past six years and spent the entire week in Lynchburg, Va., leading up to Commencement Weekend. “It’s a very good environment. The ceremony was very organized, and I loved the fireworks, and the mountains.”

She said she was encouraged by her visit to complete her master’s degree next, in counseling or human services.

“Helping people is one of my passions, and I already had that determination to pursue my master’s, but I now have confirmation from God to keep going. I’m praying that God will lead me in that direction.”

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