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In 1967 Jerry Falwell founded a segregation academy -- advertised as a "private school for white students" -- to serve his congregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Over the next several years, Falwell disavowed his support for segregation, but the desire to provide a Christian education for evangelical youth remained. In 1970, he paid $1.25 million to purchase a large property on Candlers Mountain and founded Lynchburg Baptist College the following year with 154 students. Falwell changed the name of the school twice, to Liberty Baptist College in 1976 and to Liberty University in 1984. Since the 1980s, Liberty University has been a frequent stop for conservative politicians, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Moreover, Liberty University became the largest private, nonprofit university in America by 2013, with 12,600 residential students and an additional 90,000 students taking online classes.
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Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
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Liberty University initials- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Tim Ross
Jerry Falwell portrait- Wikimedia Commons- from Liberty University (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Liberty University- Wikimedia Commons- photo by EOverbey (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Harding, Susan, 2001. The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
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Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History