Education 2023: MAJ. GEN. DONDI E. COSTIN (U.S. AIR FORCE, RET.)
PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY, LYNCHBURG
A retired 32-year Air Force veteran who served as the branch’s chief of chaplains at the Pentagon, Costin became president of Liberty, one of the nation’s largest Christian universities, in August.
Costin, who received master’s degrees in counseling and religion from Liberty, retired from the Air Force in 2018 to become president of Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. He also served as vice president of the Big South Conference Executive Committee.
Costin steps into the presidency at a critical time for Liberty, which has been through high-profile controversies in recent years, including the 2020 ouster of former President and Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr., son of Liberty’s late founder. Falwell and the school have been embroiled in dueling lawsuits. During the same period, Liberty settled an unrelated lawsuit brought by 22 anonymous women — former students and staff members — who alleged that school officials discouraged them from reporting sexual assaults.
Costin replaces Liberty’s interim president, Jerry Prevo, who stepped in for Falwell Jr. in 2020. Jonathan Falwell, the younger son of Liberty founder Jerry Falwell Sr., is now the university’s chancellor.
Virginia’s largest university by enrollment, Liberty had 95,000 students in 2021, most of whom were online students.