The former president of a leading evangelical university has said that he does not consider himself to be a religious person.
Jerry Falwell Jr led Liberty University from 2007 until his resignation in 2020 amidst a sex scandal that garnered headlines across the globe.
In a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair, Falwell opened up about his experience growing up in the shadow of his father - the ultra-conservative television evangelist, Rev Jerry Falwell.
Despite taking over the reins of an openly conservative evangelical university, Falwell Jr admitted to Vanity Fair that he does not consider himself to be religious.
“Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not,” he said. “My goal was to make them realize I was not my dad.”
Falwell Jr took on increasing responsibility at Liberty in the late 1980s after it became apparent that the institution was on the verge of financial collapse. A trained lawyer and property developer, he helped transform Liberty from near oblivion into a thriving university with 50,000 attending class campus and with double that enrolled online.
Liberty's total assets — which include a sprawling campus in Lynchburg, Virginia — are now worth over $2.5 billion.
In April 2021, Liberty University sued Falwell for $40 million in damages for breach of contract and violation of fiduciary duty.
Prior to this, in October 2020, Falwell filed a lawsuit against Liberty for damaging his reputation following the scandal that ended his tenure.
Falwell dropped the lawsuit in December 2020.