Video by Logan Smith and Jared Devin
Liberty University alumni, students and other community members gathered over the weekend to celebrate 51 years of Liberty Mountain at Homecoming, Oct. 14-15, with more than 10,000 guests registered on the campus.
Actress and Christian media personality Priscilla Shirer was the featured speaker at Friday morning’s Convocation, talking about living “right” in faith.
A wide variety of activities took place on campus Friday, including a reunion luncheon, carnival, family fun Friday at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center, alumni reunion, bonfire, and the concert. annual reunion, “The Story of God’s Passion for His People,” with performances by several Liberty bands, an alumni choir and soloists.
Dennis Fields, Jr. (’88) and his family have been with Liberty University since moving to Lynchburg in the mid-1970s. His father, Dennis Fields, Sr., held several leadership positions at Liberty in over the years. His mother, Glenna, was an English teacher and his sister Miriam graduated from Liberty in 1992. Fields said the campus and everything the university has become has fulfilled the vision of Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell.
“I was really happy to see so many alumni over reunion weekend,” Fields said. “It was great to reconnect with people who attended LU in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The growth of the campus is amazing (and is) really a reflection of Dr Falwell’s future vision. I believe it would be happy, but not surprised, because what we enjoy now is exactly what he could see (over) 50 years ago We continue to support Liberty University because we still believe in Forming Champions for Christ assignment.”
Alumnus Tim Spencer and his wife, Shawna, both 1985 graduates, attended homecoming events, including the Friday night alumni reunion.
“I had an amazing time at Homecoming this year,” Tim said. “(We loved) driving around in the car we dated in the early 80s, playing our musical horn on the car and meeting people from all over. We can’t wait until next year.
The influx of alumni to campus this weekend included many former Liberty student-athletes, who had the opportunity to reunite with their teammates. In Friday’s women’s volleyball game against Jacksonville, 11 members of the 1997 Big South Volleyball Championship-winning team were honored for the 25th anniversary of Liberty’s first conference volleyball title. The men’s lacrosse team hosted an alumni game on Friday night, pitting past and present players against each other, and also joined in for a tailgating party on Saturday.
Several university groups also held special gatherings, including a debate team reunion and alumni reunions hosted by the School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing.
Saturday’s events began with the Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5K at the Hydaway Outdoor Center. Guests lined up for the homecoming parade along University Boulevard and headed to the Alumni Tailgate and Flames Fan Fest for pre-game activities before watching the Flames beat Gardner-Webb 21-20 at the Williams Stadium.
“The reunion was so much fun,” said Ellie Towe (20), who attended the football game with her 4-month-old daughter. “It’s always such a joy to come back to LU and be on campus; it’s so nostalgic and special every time. I love the excited atmosphere, how family friendly it is and how much it reminds me of my college days which I loved so much.
“Having the opportunity to return to Lynchburg for Homecoming is something I always cherish,” said Noah Chafin (’19). “Reconnecting with friends who were central to my experience at LU is an annual reminder of the community I’ve been lucky enough to be able to build here. Seeing the Flames pull off a win only made it even better. better.
Liberty’s director of alumni engagement, Dr. Greg Tilley, spent the weekend hopping from event to event and meeting alumni from all decades.
“It was such a blessing to engage with all of the loyal alumni who returned to Liberty over this reunion weekend,” he said. “We are so grateful to those who have chosen to stay connected to our community and support the vision of our founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell. There is strength in numbers and encouragement in the fellowship of believers!
Alumni, faculty, staff and current students toasted s’mores at the Friday night bonfire. (Photo by KJ Jugar)