Homecoming excitement culminates with Flames victory

October 24, 2015 : Liberty University News Service

Sounds of excitement — from twirling on a ride at an afternoon carnival to cheering on the Flames football team with a crowd of over 20,000 fans in Williams Stadium — reverberated across the campus of Liberty University during Homecoming 2015 on Saturday. It was another record Homecoming crowd, with more than 8,700 registrants.

“There were smiling faces all around campus,” said Tyler Falwell, director of Alumni Relations. “People were so amazed at how far campus has come, even if it has only been a few years since their last visit. And so many online students experiencing campus for the first time during Homecoming. Their excitement and pride to be a part of the Liberty Family is something they can take home. I am thankful for all of the departments who collaborate to make Homecoming happen — they work long hours to ensure this is a premiere event for our alumni. I heard several times this weekend they mark their calendars every year for this because they cannot wait to experience Homecoming again.”

Kicking off Saturday’s events was the Deep Hollow Half Marathon/5K race as alumni and students laced up their running shoes and hit the Liberty Mountain Trail System side-by-side, taking in the majesty of God’s creation.

In the early afternoon, Homecoming guests enjoyed rides, games, and food at the carnival behind the Hancock Welcome Center before lining University Boulevard for the crowd-pleasing Homecoming Parade. Cheerleaders and Sparky, Liberty’s mascot, injected some Flames spirit into the already enthusiastic crowd as Liberty’s Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band led the way for creative student floats, candy-tossing administrators (including President Jerry Falwell and his wife, Becki), and the Liberty-sponsored racecar with its driver, Liberty University Online Academy student William Byron.

As the sun receded behind the Blue Ridge Mountains, fans packed Williams Stadium for the climatic Homecoming event — the Flames football game against Big South Conference newcomer Kennesaw State.

Before Liberty took the field, a moment of silence was held in honor of Macel Falwell, who died on Oct. 15. She was the wife of Liberty’s late founder Dr. Jerry Falwell and mother of President Jerry Falwell.

Kennesaw State saw the lights on the scoreboard first in what would be a high-scoring affair. But the home crowd would not leave disappointed as a diving touchdown by Darrin Peterson evened things up before the Flames would take the lead and not look back in a 45-35 victory.

  • For more stories and photos from Homecoming, follow Alumni Relations on Facebook.

Thousands ‘come home’ to celebrate at Liberty this weekend

Oct. 23, 2015

Generations of Liberty University alumni from across the country — and even overseas — converged at the foot of Liberty Mountain to celebrate Homecoming 2015. Early check-in began on Thursday, and by Friday campus was teeming with red- and blue-clad visitors representing graduating classes ranging from this year to Liberty’s early years. Over 2,500 had checked in by Friday evening, with at least 3,000 guests expected to have done so by the night’s end.

“We are so encouraged to see so many families and individuals who have made Homecoming an annual tradition,” said Tyler Falwell, director of Alumni Relations. “They mark their calendars and register early because they do not want to miss out. Alumni Relations and dozens of other departments go to great lengths to ensure this event continues to excite year after year. Like always, this year has plenty to do in terms of activities. This year we’ve included new events, like the Alumni Social and the Student Kickoff, as well as the ones that have become a Liberty tradition, like the carnival and parade. In the end, it’s about the relationships — between classmates, friends, families, professors — and the memories that keep people coming back. I just love seeing all these smiling faces.”

Guests who arrived early had the opportunity to rock out with Christian music artists RED, Tedashii, and more Thursday night in the LaHaye Event Space.

Enjoying golden rays from above, muted by a gentle breeze, many visitors spent Friday exploring campus. Whether it has been a decade or only a few years since their last visit, alumni marveled at the progress of Liberty’s $500 million campus rebuilding, particularly the new high rise residence halls and buildings along the academic commons — which features the impressive Jerry Falwell Library, the new Science Hall, the Center for Music and the Worship Arts, and continuing construction on the new Student Center behind DeMoss Hall.

On Friday morning, Homecoming guests relived a staple of their student experience by attending Convocation in the Vines Center. Spoken word artist Jefferson Bethke delivered the message after an uplifting time of worship.

With the weekend in full swing by Friday evening, guests found a plethora of activities for family members of all ages to enjoy. A carnival on the back lawn of Hancock Welcome Center is open Friday from 6-9 p.m. with games, food, and rides, including a Ferris wheel and hay rides. From 8:30-10 p.m., alumni and guests ages 15 and up can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, donuts, and music as they converse with others on the terrace level of Hancock Welcome Center during the Alumni Social.

Scaremare, the annual outreach event that combines spooky fun with a hopeful message, is open both Friday and Saturday evenings.

All weekend Athletics events will bring fans together to cheer on the Flames. The action begins for football fans with the Gillville pep rally, starting at 8 p.m. outside Williams Stadium, where fans can receive giveaways, play games, and enjoy s’mores and beverages.

It is a historic weekend for Flames hockey as Liberty will unveil the newly expanded and renovated LaHaye Ice Center for fans at 7 p.m. President Jerry Falwell was scheduled to drop the puck as Liberty faces Davenport in the first of two games (the follow-up contest is at 3 p.m. on Saturday). (Read full coverage of the event.)

Guests have plenty more action to look forward to on Saturday, with an early-morning race, the carnival re-opening at noon, the annual Homecoming parade at 4 p.m., and the Flames football game kicking off at 7 p.m.

  • For alumni who cannot attend Homecoming, Alumni Relations will be hosting a live stream at each major event. Visit Alumni Relations on Facebook or YouTube for more information. To follow the Flames football game online, on TV, or on the radio, visit Liberty’s Athletics website.
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