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From San Bernardino, Calif., to Fort Hood, Texas, to Normal, Ill., to Bronx, N.Y., hundreds of Liberty University Online graduates traveled to Lynchburg last week for Commencement and a special LU Online reception in the Tilley Student Center.
Liberty University Online students accounted for 76 percent of all Liberty graduates this year, the largest-ever graduating class.
Daniel Rose, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, visited with his family from Lake Nebagamon, Wis. After studying at a Bible college for a couple years, Rose switched to Liberty University Online so he could work full time and minimize his debt. Skeptical at first about the quality of online education, he said he was “pleasantly surprised” and “very impressed” with the reading material, challenging exams and demanding assignments.
“They push you pretty hard,” he said.
After a family tragedy left her devastated two years ago, Rose Kennedy felt God leading her to Liberty. “That’s a good school, Rose,” she remembers God telling her. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Evangelism and Church Planting.
“The professors here are so wonderful,” said Kennedy, who lives in California but is planning to start a church in Jamaica where she has family.
Marck Lubin, of Norman, Okla., still “felt like something was missing” after receiving a two-year degree in computer science from another college. Asking God for guidance, he started doing research, compared Liberty with other universities and found “Liberty was my home.” Lubin earned a Bachelor of Science in Religion from Liberty University Online.
Liberty’s doctrine was “first and foremost” for Rickey Houston, who now holds a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling. Flexibility was also key, as he pastors a church of 400 in St. Petersburg, Fla. He said his 25 years of military experience gave him the discipline to study on his own.
Amber Kingry, visiting from Gainesville, Ga., with her husband, Phil, graduated with an Associate of Arts in Christian Counseling and has already enrolled for her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. When asked why she chose Liberty, Amber points to Phil, who is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Religion, and recounts a remarkable story of restoration.
“We were getting divorced,” Amber said, “but God had a different plan.” When Phil started watching his course videos for his Old Testament and New Testament survey class, Amber explained, “it was popcorn time for the whole family … and the Bible opened up and came alive to me in a way that it never had before … and I couldn’t get enough … Liberty is awesome.”