Retired Maj. Gen. Dondi Costin will join Liberty University this summer as its sixth president, the Lynchburg school announced Friday.
Liberty’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Costin. He is currently president of Charleston Southern University, a private Baptist school in Charleston, South Carolina, with about 3,300 students.
In a letter to the CSU community, Costin said serving as president had been “the honor of a lifetime,” but he and his wife, Vickey, felt “called” to the position at Liberty. “As difficult as it will be to leave the greatest trustees, senior leaders, faculty, staff, students, and supporters on the planet, we know that God has issued a new set of orders, and we have no choice but to follow His lead,” he wrote.
Along with announcing Costin as president, Liberty named Jonathan Falwell, campus pastor and son of Liberty founder Jerry Falwell, as chancellor.
Liberty conducted an eight-month search to select a successor to Jerry Prevo, the chair of the board of trustees, who has been serving as interim president at Liberty since 2020. He took over when Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned in response to several personal scandals. Jerry Jr. and Jonathan are brothers.
During his five years at CSU, Costin oversaw the development of the school’s aeronautics degree, South Carolina’s only four-year program allowing students to earn a pilot’s license alongside a bachelor’s degree. The school also introduced an engineering program and two doctoral programs, in educational leadership and physical therapy.
In addition, Costin serves as president of the Big South Conference, which in Virginia includes Radford and Longwood universities.
Prior to joining CSU, Costin spent 32 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a major general. He was the Air Force’s chief of chaplains from 2015 to 2018.
Costin holds five master’s degrees, including two from Liberty. He started taking night classes for his first graduate degree — a master of arts in counseling — while he was stationed in Virginia, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported.
He holds a doctor of ministry and a Ph.D. in organizational leadership from the Southern Baptist Theological Society.
Liberty enrolled nearly 16,000 on-campus students in fall 2022, with another 115,000 students attending classes though online degree programs, according to a release from the university.