Liberty University is an evangelical Christian college that’s been on a tear.
The school is also the brainchild of one of the most famous evangelical figures in America, former Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
And now the school is giving Paul a free speech.
Paul is set to give the inaugural commencement address at the school’s inaugural weekend on Saturday.
The former Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential candidate is a rising star in the movement for limited government and limited government conservatism, and the event is part of a larger effort by the Liberty University to grow the movement and make it relevant to the American people.
Paul will address a packed auditorium at Liberty.
As part of the festivities, Paul will be joined by two other guests: retired Army Lt.
Col. William G. McCants III, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, and Matt Barber, the executive director of the Center for Liberty and Justice.
The speech, titled “Defeating America’s Foreign Enemies and Strengthening Our Armed Forces,” will take place at Liberty’s annual commencement.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. told The Washington Post he believes the speech will be a “very significant event for our university.”
“We are going to give this speech because we know it will resonate with our students, and it’s going to be very important for them to hear the views of Ron Paul and others,” Falwell said.
Falwell, who will be at the event alongside Paul, told the Post that Liberty has a long history of giving prominent speakers a chance to speak at the institution.
He added that Liberty’s decision to allow Paul to give a commencement address was “an extremely important moment for the university.”
Falwell said Liberty’s policy was “not a political position.”
“The fact that the speech is from an individual who is a leading conservative thinker and speaker shows that the university is moving in the right direction,” Falweld said.
“The University has always been very supportive of Rand Paul, and we’re delighted that he’s invited here.
We’re excited that Liberty is hosting him as an honorary commencement speaker.”
The school has been known to invite prominent figures to speak to its graduates, but the move to give Paul a speech at Liberty is the first time it has done so.
“I am pleased to welcome Ron Paul to Liberty University, which has become a beacon for conservative thought and action,” Faltell said in a statement.
“He is a well-known conservative voice who speaks to the world on the issue of freedom and is an inspiration to many.
He’s also a very intelligent, passionate speaker and I think he will have an important contribution to make to our university and the world.”
Faltell also said Liberty has hosted “several other prominent conservative speakers over the years,” including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and former Sen. Jim DeMint, who is also Liberty’s president.
“Liberty’s policy is to not endorse candidates or policies of political parties, and to welcome speakers who share our vision of freedom, liberty and limited Government,” Falween said.
“This year, Liberty is welcoming Dr. Ron for the commencement speech and will welcome Dr. Paul for a future speech.”
A Liberty spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment.