LYNCHBURG, Va., March 31, 2023 – During the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees of Liberty University, the trustees unanimously appointed Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Dondi E. Costin, Ph.D., the sixth president of the University and Pastor Jonathan Falwell the third chancellor of the University. Both leaders will assume their duties ahead of the 2023-24 school year.
“As one whose life and ministry have been profoundly shaped by Liberty University, I can think of no educational institution with more global impact than my two-time alma mater. I am beyond grateful to the Board for entrusting me with this extraordinary opportunity,” said President designee Costin. “Vickey and I look forward to locking arms with the Liberty family as we honor the University’s past and drive toward its future. With God’s help and for His glory, the very best days of our great University are still ahead of us.”
Chancellor designee Falwell added, “With this transition we are recommitting our institution to its founding, and singular, mission: Training Champions for Christ. I look forward to serving alongside our exceptionally qualified new president to impact more lives than ever before with Christ-centered education.” Like his father before him, Falwell will remain as Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church while also serving at Liberty University.
As President of Liberty University, Dr. Costin comes to the university’s leadership as a continuation of a lifetime dedicated to service. Most recently, Dr. Costin has served as president of Charleston Southern University (CSU). His celebrated tenure has been marked by academic and athletic achievement. Costin oversaw the construction of several new facilities and the substantial expansion of CSU’s academic programs, including South Carolina’s only four-year aviation program, multiple doctoral programs, and an engineering program within the university’s College of Science and Mathematics. Under his leadership, the university set fundraising records, significantly improved its overall rankings, and dramatically exceeded freshmen enrollment goals. On the heels of the best all-around year in CSU’s athletic history, Dr. Costin now serves as president of the Big South Conference. Despite operating in a #1 tourist town with a top national port, the only Boeing plant outside the State of Washington, manufacturing plants for Mercedes and Volvo, three major universities, and countless successful businesses in every industry, CSU was named the 2022 Business of the Year by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to Charleston Southern University, Dr. Costin obtained the rank of Major General with the U.S. Air Force during 32 years of commissioned service, during which he represented the Liberty Baptist Fellowship as an endorsed chaplain. He completed his military career at the Pentagon as Air Force Chief of Chaplains. As Chief of Chaplains, he served as senior pastor to more than 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces in the United States and overseas, and he led 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the Air Force Chaplain Corps. A decorated combat veteran, Costin deployed in support of numerous contingency and humanitarian relief operations across the globe and previously served as senior chaplain for Air Force operations in both the Pacific and the Middle East. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in operations research from The United States Air Force Academy, Dr. Costin holds five master’s degrees, a Doctor of Ministry degree, and a Ph.D. in organizational leadership. He earned two of his five master’s degrees from Liberty University early in his military career. He has been married to Vickey for more than 33 years. Mrs. Costin’s own legacy of public service includes 23 years as a public-school educator.
The appointments by the trustees come after an extensive national search was conducted on behalf of the University’s Presidential and Chancellor Search Special Committee by CarterBaldwin Executive Search, one of America’s top executive recruiters. The search involved the evaluation of nearly 100 credible candidates over a period of eight months.