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President Trump speaking at Liberty graduation latest politician to prioritize the university

Commencement exercises begin at 10 a.m


LYNCHBURG, Va. – Preparations are well underway at Liberty University to welcome President Donald Trump for commencement this weekend.

He joins a list of key political players, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have made the school a priority in recent years.

"People from all over the place are saying this is an environment where learning can really happen and not just an ideology being hoisted upon the students," said Liberty biology professor Daniel Howell, who has taught at the university for 14 years.

Howell said it's the nature of the university that is driving all this attention.

"We have a different voice here. Jerry Farwell Jr. has given a different voice, our professors have given a different voice. We have a conservative voice, which is fairly rare on college campuses and opposing voices are still heard and appreciated," continued Howell.

Even opposing voices, like Sanders, have come to the university.

"(Sanders) was bold enough and brave enough to come to the campus that could potentially be very hostile toward his views," said Howell

Now former politicians are also finding a home at Liberty

Robert Hurt served in Congress for six years, now he's heading up a new center to help expand the school's political reach even further.

"Take sort of the tremendous platform that Liberty has already built here and use it to stage debates and those sorts of activities," explained Hurt, the director of the Center of Law & Government.

He said that political power has been a long time coming.

"Since 1971, the university has really stood in an unflinching way behind the American principles that have made this country great again," said Hurt.

They've come a long way, but have big goals for the future.

"Where we go from here, I don't know and we get one of our students in the White House," said __

With big names, of course, comes big security.

This weekend, Liberty University will have 35 metal detectors set up around the stadium, three times the amount of a normal event.