Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday delivered the commencement address at the 46th graduation ceremony at Liberty University — and spoke bluntly to the new graduates and their families and friends as over 50,000 people gathered at Williams Stadium on the Liberty University campus in Lynchburg, Virginia.
More than 8,000 graduates were in attendance to hear the vice president’s remarks.
The university graduated more than 20,000 students — 80 percent of whom earned their degrees via the school’s online programs, as the university noted in a press release.
The vice president called for religious tolerance at a time when free speech and religious freedom are under attack across the nation.
Pence said, “Today you have a president and an administration that are standing strong for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the unalienable right to life … America needs men and women of integrity and faith now more than ever. The truth is, we live in a time when the freedom of religion is under assault.”
Pence also told graduates they must remain strong against challenges that come at them from Hollywood, the media and the Left.
“Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs,” Pence told the students, as several outlets reported, including USA Today.
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“Be ready,” he added.
In addition, the vice president challenged the graduating class to cherish and value the timing of their graduation as they begin working in their respective fields — as the economy is soaring during the tenure of President Donald Trump.
“Class of 2019, you picked a great time to graduate because after two years of the leadership of President Donald Trump, confidence is back, jobs are coming back … In a word, America is back and you’re just getting started!”
Also, as a recent Gallup poll measuring Trump’s approval rating from the second half of April found, nearly half of U.S. voters have a favorable view of the president. The poll, out last Friday, showed that Trump’s approval rating hit 46 percent for the latter half of April. That’s up from the 45 percent rating from the first half and putting the president at his highest Gallup approval rating to date.
Republicans stayed strongly in favor of Trump, the poll found, with the president hitting a 91 percent approval rate among them.
During the commencement on Saturday, Liberty University’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., also recalled a spirit of entrepreneurialism as shared by the school’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr.
“Graduates, I hope that your time at Liberty has also placed [the entrepreneurial] spirit, including a real love for people, in you,” he said.
“Liberty was built by entrepreneurs who took huge risks, and if you do that in your life and aren’t afraid of failing, you’ll be shocked at what you can accomplish.”