The Virginia Tobacco Commission will be giving Liberty University $12 million for its health sciences school, scheduled to open as soon as Fall 2013. See e.g. WHSV [link] and WDBJ [link]. The latter link is the better one.
It’s a matching grant; the total $24 million will be a big chunk of the budget for the planned $40 million facility. Most of the money is earmarked for supporting an osteopathic medicine program.
I’m surprised to discover that the tobacco commission is interested in osteopathy; it’s not a connection I would have suspected. It looks like that from the university’s perspective this is just another day at the office: with no big television ministry backing the university they have to find money somewhere, and they’re putting their best business people into the grant-writing business:
Falwell thanked Liberty’s administration and staff for their hard work in preparing the grant proposal.
“Dr. Ron Godwin (Provost), Dr. Ron Hawkins (Vice Provost), Dr. Emily Heady, Dr. Ben Gutierrez, Dr. Kevin Corsini and Mr. Larry Shackleton, along with other team members, spent months working on the grant proposal and did an outstanding job of explaining the plans for the new school to the Tobacco Commission members,” Falwell said. “Liberty University is blessed to have such competent academic leadership and we deeply appreciate their fine work on this exciting project.”
I’m not over-thrilled to see tobacco money being donated to Liberty University; last time I checked tobacco was primarily used as a recreational drug, albeit a legal one (like alcohol; unlike marijuana), and I would think Liberty as a Christian university with a fundamentalist heritage would consider tobacco money dirty money. Evidently not.