Liberty University names interim chairman
Allen McFarland will serve in role while Jerry Prevo serves as acting president
Liberty University announced Tuesday it has appointed the vice chair of its board of trustees, Allen McFarland, as the board’s interim chairman. He will serve in this role while Chairman Jerry Prevo serves as acting president and Jerry Falwell Jr. is on an indefinite leave of absence from his positions as the Christian university’s president and chancellor.
“I’m excited about this role,” McFarland said in a statement. “During this interim period, the spiritual health and wellness of our leadership is critical to fulfilling the mission set forth in 1971.”
Prevo was appointed as chairman on Aug. 10, following Falwell Jr.’s leave of absence, which took effect Aug. 7, following an uproar over an Instagram photo Falwell posted of himself and his wife’s assistant. Taken at a yacht party, the photo shows Falwell with his arm around the woman, while both of their pants are partially unzipped and Falwell is holding a glass of dark liquid that he said was “black water” and “a prop.” He later apologized for embarrassing the woman and during a local radio interview said he had promised his children, “I’m going to try to be a good boy from here on out.”
For more than two decades, McFarland has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Divinity. With his appointment, he becomes the first Black person to chair Liberty’s board of trustees, where he has served since 1991. He has also served as the pastor of Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church in Portsmouth since 1982. McFarland is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. He also serves on the boards of directors of Kids Across America, Baptist Fellowship Association and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.
“We are so fortunate at Liberty University to have Dr. Allen McFarland become our interim chairman, a man of great faith who follows God’s calling wherever it takes him,” Prevo said in a statement. “This is a historic appointment at Liberty as Dr. McFarland is a distinguished national leader who will be particularly impactful as we continue to broaden our outreach to the African American community to join our mission in ‘Training Champions for Christ.’”
With more than 110,000 students enrolled, most of them online, Liberty is Virginia’s largest school by enrollment and is the nation’s second-largest online university, behind the University of Phoenix.