Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr. is an attorney and academic administrator. He is the president of Liberty University, a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States.
Falwell is a prominent supporter of the 45th U.S. president Donald Trump. Here are 13 more facts about the Liberty University president:
- Born in Lynchburg, he is the eldest among the three children of Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist and conservative activist Jerry Falwell Sr. and Macel Pate Falwell.
- At the age of 18, he graduated from Lynchburg Christian Academy in 1980. In 2005, the school was renamed Liberty Christian Academy.
- In 1984, he earned his bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Liberty University, which his father co-founded the university with Elmer L. Towns in 1971. His father was the third president of the university.
- In 1987, he earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. In the same year, he was licensed to practice law in Virginia and he married Becki Tilley, who is also a Liberty University graduate. The couple has three children namely Jerry “Trey” Falwell III, Charles Wesley Falwell and Caroline Grace Falwell.
- As a commercial real estate developer, he has companies that developed the pastures adjacent to Liberty University.
- As an attorney, he served in private practice in Virginia from 1987 to 2007. He also served as the lawyer for Liberty University and its related organizations.
- When his father died in 2007, he succeeded his position and became the fourth Liberty University president.
- On January 26, 2016, he announced his endorsement of Trump for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- In June 2016, he expressed support for Israel and said Liberty University is glad to be part of supporting the only democracy that is a close ally of the U.S.
- In June 2017, he claimed that he would be one of 15 college presidents participating in the White House task force on reforms for the U.S. Department of Education, which was never formed.
- On March 13, 2020, he promoted a conspiracy theory that China and North Korea conspired together to create the new coronavirus (COVID-19). In June 2020, he took to Twitter to say he would only wear a face mask if it featured a picture from Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook depicting a man in blackface and a man in Ku Klux Klan regalia. Several African-American football players and teachers at Liberty University condemned the tweet, which prompted him to apologize. In August 2020, he took to Instagram to share a photo of himself with his pants unzipped and his arm around his wife’s pregnant assistant. The photo has been deleted. In an interview with Lynchburg radio station WLNI 105.9FM, he said, “I’ve apologized to everybody and I’ve promised my kids I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out.”
- On October 28, 2020, he filed a complaint in the Lynchburg Circuit Court in Virginia, in which he admitted that his wife began an affair with a family friend named Giancarlo Granda in March 2021.
- On April 15, 2021, Liberty University filed a civil suit against him in the Lynchburg Circuit Court seeking $10 million in compensatory damages. In a 74-page complaint, he was accused of breach of contract and fiduciary duty and statutory conspiracy.