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3/6/13 at 02:55 PM 0 Comments

How Liberty University Became the Largest Christian University

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Photo: Flickr/dbking - Creative Commons

When pastor Jerry Falwell started Liberty University, he did not know it would become the largest Christian university in America. In recent years the school's enrollment has exploded. This week The Washington Post reported, "In the almost six years since Falwell’s death, Liberty University has doubled its student head count — twice."

According to the Washington Times, "Liberty University, a Christian-based school in Virginia, is now the largest private institute of higher learning in the United States." The university has almost 62,000 students that take courses online.

Gary North, a prominent Christian economist and historian, came up with the idea for a world-class Christian education system based on video lectures and inexpensive workbooks. North presented his plan to Pat Robertson in 1982 but Robertson failed to implement the plan at Regent University.

North describes how Liberty University's correspondence courses came into being: "Ron Godwin at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University read it. The school was in deep financial trouble. Godwin proposed that the school set up 'University Without Walls.' It would offer degrees by correspondence. It would use videotapes. Falwell agreed. He needed money."

North credits Godwin with adapting his ideas and making them work: "It was a good idea. I just didn't see that it could be done with videotapes and the Post Office rather than a satellite distribution system. Godwin put the pieces together. He deserves the credit. Good ideas are a dime a dozen."

In addition to college courses, Liberty University also offers classes online for students in elementary school to high school. College students graduating after taking the online courses may also participate in the graduation ceremonies.

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