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Liberty University Commencement Ceremony Features Tim Scott, TobyMac, Willie Robertson, and Mike Pompeo

Liberty University
Pictured (left to right): Tim Scott, TobyMac, Willie Robertson, Mike Pompeo. Screengrabs via YouTube / @Liberty University

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, held its 2024 commencement ceremony on Friday (May 10). The ceremony featured Christian music star TobyMac, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, and reality television star Willie Robertson. 

This was the first commencement ceremony held under the leadership of new university President Dondi E. Costin. Jonathan Falwell, who is the son of Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell Sr. and serves as the university’s chancellor, praised Costin during the ceremony, saying that Costin “had a pretty good freshman year.”

Costin assumed leadership at Liberty during a tumultuous season for the university. Jerry Falwell Jr., the university’s former president, resigned in 2020 amid questions of his fitness for leadership and scandalous reports of an affair between his wife, Becky, and then-business partner Giancarlo Granda.

Liberty University has also endured several legal battles resulting from allegations that it failed to protect students from sexual assault and mishandled sexual assault claims. Earlier this year, the school agreed to pay a historic $14 million fine to the United States Department of Education for violations of campus safety law regarding the prevention of and response to sexual abuse. 

Despite these controversies, Liberty University remains one of the largest and most influential Christian universities in the nation, honoring roughly 29,000 graduates on Friday. 

In a prerecorded message, TobyMac said that attending Liberty “changed the design” of his life. 

“Everything I thought I was gonna do got just wiped off the map, and God redirected me, right here on this campus,” TobyMac said. He went on to recount how he met Michael Tait and Kevin Max while attending Liberty. The trio went on to form the Christian band DC Talk.

TobyMac added, “It all began here—the dream that we could do music.”

“I would say to students here, ‘Wait for God to open doors,’” he said. “Wait for God to open the doors and tell him that you’ll just step through them when he opens them—and be willing to be a servant.” 

During his address, Mike Pompeo congratulated graduates and emphasized the importance of military service. 

“Liberty and faith are sacred things and they are worth being defended,” Pompeo said. “And throughout now 250 years of American history, our nation has always depended on the willingness of incredible young men and women and their families to sacrifice for it, to fight for it, and even to give their lives for it.”

Pompeo went on to say that “over 40,000 Liberty students are part of our military community.” He also said that 20% of all military chaplains are graduates of Liberty and that 2,000 of the 2024 Liberty graduates are on active duty.

Pompeo said that Liberty’s strong ties to the military is “logical; it makes sense.” He added, “This university takes pride in its support of our military heroes.”

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Later in the ceremony, Liberty University awarded Senator Tim Scott with an honorary doctorate of humanities, after which Scott delivered remarks to graduates.