In the 20-minute speech described as "perhaps his most reflective and personal," the Texas governor made no mention of the biggest issue thus far in the 2012 presidential race - jobs - or his views on President Barack Obama, The Washington Post reported.
"Instead, the evangelical Christian governor spoke the language of the movement with ease," the newspaper said.
Perry talked about his life in deeply spiritual terms and cast his political aspirations as destiny, the Post reported.
"He who knows the number of drops in the ocean, he counts the sands in the desert, he knows you by name... He doesn't require perfect people to execute his plan," Perry said in the speech to an estimated 13,000 students and faculty at the Virginia university founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.