Regent University seeks to serve as a creative and spiritually uplifting place where people connect with others who are working in media and the performing arts in a learning environment. On the pages below, you will discover a few of the many artists and professionals who have shared their lives and experiences with us. In 1744, Italian philosopher and historian, Giambattista Vico, offered an apt account of the mission of a story-teller: “Now this is the three-fold labor of poetry (story-telling): (1.) To invent sublime fables suited to the popular understanding; (2.) to perturb to excess (entertain) with a view to the end proposed; (3.) and to teach the vulgar to act virtuously.” As Christians, we join with others to develop our gifts, our talents and our lives in ways that will help make a redemptive difference in the lives of others through the creative and prophetic power of story.
Industry Speakers & Guests
Broadway Actor and Composer
Jeff Blumenkrantz has appeared in the Broadway shows, Into the Woods (1987), Threepenny Opera (with Sting), Damn Yankees, How to Succeed and A Class Act. He has appeared in film and television series including: Joseph. Dreamcoat, Will and Grace, all three Law and Order series and the Great Performances (PBS) telecast of Candide in Concert. As a composer, he received a 2003 Tony nomination for his contributions to the score of Urban Cowboy, the musical. His songs have been recorded by Audra McDonald (I Won't Mind) and Megan Mullally (Lament). Visit his website to learn more about his songbook and podcast—featuring performances of his songs by Megan Mullally, Victoria Clark, Liz Callaway, Rebecca Luker, Carolee Carmello, Marin Mazzie, Kelli O'Hara and more.
Founder of YWAM
Loren Cunningham is the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), an ever-expanding global “family of ministries” born in 1960 that has reached every nation. The work of YWAM encompasses evangelism, training and mercy ministries and is manned by nearly 20,000 full-time staff from more than 150 nationalities and a wide variety of denominations who serve at more than 1,300 YWAM locations in 177 nations. More than four million students, short-term volunteers and staff have served with YWAM since its inception. Cunningham is the author of five books: Is That Really You, God?, Making Jesus Lord, Daring to Live on the Edge, Why Not Women? and The Book that Transforms Nations—the Power of the Bible to Change any Country.
Keith Flippen's film career credits include The Wire (HBO), American Gothic (CBS), Minority Report, Dawson's Creek (WB), Surface (NBC) and Virus, as well as the Emmy Award winners, From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries) and Iron Jawed Angels, both for HBO—altogether more than 15 TV movies, seven feature films and 15 episodes of major television series. Over the last three years you may have seen Flippen in ABC's Same as it Never Was, with Lacey Chabert and Wendi Malik, CBS's Heartless, with Melanie Griffith and Esai Morales, Ruffian, for ABC/ESPN starring with Sam Shepard, and on One Tree Hill. In 2008, Flippen worked on the Independent film, Two Hours in the Dark, about Frank Capra, Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal for Lifetime TV and became the online host for the Lowe's Creative Ideas Online Shop Class.
CBN Newswatch co-anchor
Wendy Griffith co-anchors CBN Newswatch, a daily 30-minute newscast seen throughout the United States. She also co-anchors Christian World News, which is seen weekly around the world on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She often anchors the news on The 700 Club. Wendy reports on a wide range of issues for CBN News and Christian World News. After a year as the network's Congressional Correspondent on Capitol Hill, she moved to the Virginia Beach headquarters in 2000 to concentrate on stories with a more spiritual emphasis. She began her television career at NBC affiliate KYEL-TV in Yuma, Ariz., in 1987 after graduating from West Virginia University in 1986 with a B.S. in Journalism. She then went on to work in several television markets across the country as an anchor/reporter, including NBC affiliate WCYB-TV in Bristol, Va.; ABC affiliate WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va.; and NBC affiliate WTVO-TV in Rockford, Ill. After nearly two years in Rockford, she returned to Charleston, her hometown and West Virginia's capitol city, to co-anchor the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts for WCHS-TV. Her position there opened the door to an opportunity to serve as press secretary and later special events coordinator to former West Virginia Gov. Cecil H. Underwood.
Former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Head of Television for William Morris Agency
Before his retirement in December 2004, Sam Haskell rose through the ranks of the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills to become the agency's executive vice president and worldwide head of television. In his 26-year career, Haskell represented some of the biggest stars in the business including Bill Cosby, Ray Romano, Dolly Parton, Whoopi Goldberg, George Clooney, Martin Short and Lily Tomlin. He also put together the deals that made many of our most popular and successful TV shows possible: Everybody Loves Raymond, The Bill Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Mad About You, Sisters, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, Las Vega, and, most recently, the series, Lost. Haskell has written about his incredible journey from a small-town boy in Amory, Miss., to his years as a student at Ole Miss to becoming one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood in his memoir, Promises I Made My Mother. Haskell has been quoted as saying that he's just an ordinary guy who has been blessed to have lived an extraordinary life, and he gives all of the credit to his mother.
Minister, Author and Speaker
Max Lucado is a best-selling Christian author and minister of writing and preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Lucado has written more than 50 books with 28 million copies in print, including three recipients of the Charles “Kip” Jordon Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year awards (Just Like Jesus, In the Grip of Grace and When God Whispers Your Name) and has appeared regularly on several best-seller lists. Lucado was named “America's Pastor” by Christianity Today magazine and in 2005 was named by Reader's Digest as “The Best Preacher in America.” He has been featured on The Fox News Channel, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live and USA Today. His books are regularly on the New York Times Best-Sellers List. He has been featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Journalist and TV Anchor
Veteran journalist Deborah Norville has been anchor of Inside Edition since March 1995. Ratings jumped 15 percent the week the two-time Emmy© award winner joined the series, which is now the nation's top-rated syndicated news magazine. As anchor of Inside Edition, she has covered a wide variety of stories and events She broadcast from Washington D.C., hours after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, was in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, anchored Inside Edition's coverage of the funeral of President Ronald Reagan and the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and is regularly on the red carpet for Hollywood's star-studded events including the Oscars and the Emmy Awards. Norville was named news anchor and then co-host of NBC's Today program, a position she held until the birth of her first child in 1991. Norville resumed her broadcasting career with the Deborah Norville Show, heard on more than 200 ABC Radio Network stations. She joined CBS News in 1993 as a correspondent and later anchored for such programs as Street Stories, 48 Hours and the CBS Evening News. She was also host of Deborah Norville Tonight on MSNBC.
J. SCOTT “SKIP” RUDSENSKE
Scott Rudsenske has been practicing entertainment law since 1989. He represents national recording artists, writers, and independent record and film companies. In addition to practicing as an entertainment attorney, Rudsenske has owned a 300-seat live music venue and personally produced events by artists such as Bush, Oasis, Old 97s, Jewel, Soul Coughing, Jeff Buckley, Bob Mould, Tonic, Better Than Ezra, Goo Goo Dolls, The Toadies, Matchbox 20, ZZ Top and others. Rudsenske received his bachelor's degree at The University Of North Texas and received his J.D. from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and Tennessee.
Actor, Director and Teacher
Marianne Savell received her MFA in Acting from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she graduated with highest honors and was a guest artist at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She is an alumna and participant of Directors Lab West, an associate artist with Taproot Theatre Company in Seattle and is on the Advisory Board of Provision Theater Company in Chicago. In 2008, Savell was invited to the prestigious New Harmony Project to direct Margaret Hunt's new play, And The Ravens Feed Us. Professional directing credits include: the critically acclaimed Jeff-nominated, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Victory Gardens, Chicago), the world premiere and LA Weekly award winner, Gulf View Drive, Angel Street, Translations, the critically acclaimed and multi-award nominated, As It Is In Heaven, It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, The Crucible, Hamlet, God & Shakespeare, Molly Sweeney, and Psychopathia Sexualis. Savell is an adjunct professor at Vanguard University where she directed the American College Theatre Festival finalists, The Lion in Winter and As It Is In Heaven, as well as Saint Joan, America's Broadway and Three Sisters.
Whether on stage or screen, Emmy® award-winning talk show host, comedienne and actress, Sherri Shepherd, never fails to delight audiences with her magnetic personality and hilarious sense of humor, which is showcased in her position as co-host of ABC's The View. Shepherd stars in and executive produces her new Lifetime series, Sherri. The show is loosely based on her life and stand-up comedy and premiered on October 5, 2009. Also in October, Sherri's humorous autobiography, Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break, was launched by Grand Central Publishing.
American Idol Top Five Finalist, Season Six
One of the Top Five finalists on season six of American Idol, Stacey's powerful voice caught the attention of more than 30 million television viewers each week, and it's that musical gift combined with his passionate heart for God that fuels every moment of his Reunion Records debut Into the Light. A “singer's singer,” Stacey knew from an early age he wanted to use his voice in ministry. “I've always wanted to sing Christian music, and I almost signed with a label when I graduated from college, but God had a plan for me, and God is anything but predictable,” Stacey says. “There were times along the journey when I was wondering where in the world God was taking me. Now I see why He took me through all the turns, and I'm so grateful that He did.”
Co-host for The 700 Club
Kristi received her bachelor's and master's in Communication from the University of Dayton in Ohio. Although Kristi got her start in news working at a local NBC affiliate in Dayton and as a news reporter for a radio station, she eventually found her niche in Christian television where she loves "getting to the heart of people's personal stories." Before coming to CBN, Kristi produced and co-hosted an inspirational television program called Friend to Friend in Columbus, Ohio. During that time, she also created, produced and hosted a weekly inspirational news magazine style program called A Matter of Concern. Kristi also co-hosted a children's program on a FOX affiliate in Dayton, Ohio.
News Anchor for The 700 Club
Lee Webb serves as the news anchor for The 700 Club, the news/magazine flagship program of The Christian Broadcasting Network. He also anchors CBN Newswatch, a 30-minute daily program. As a veteran in the television news business, Lee brings a wealth of expertise and credibility to CBN News. A native of Pompano Beach, Florida, Lee graduated from Auburn University in 1975 and went to work as a sports reporter and anchor for WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1979, he became the lead sports anchor for the NBC affiliate in Miami, then took a similar position with WCVB-TV in Boston in 1983. His career as a sports anchor included covering three Super Bowls, an NBA Championship series, and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1986, Lee became the weeknight news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Christian Teacher and Author
One of the world's foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times No. 1 best seller, The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other best sellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS and poverty in Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.
Senior Vice President of the NBA's Orlando Magic
Pat Williams is one of America's top motivational, inspirational and humorous speakers. He has addressed employees from numerous Fortune 500 companies and the Million Dollar Round Table. He has been a featured speaker at Billy Graham Crusades and Peter Lowe Success Seminars, as well as many university campuses. Williams is also the author of 47 books; his most recent titles being How to Be Like Women Athletes of Influence and The Ultimate Coaches Clinic.
WILLIAM BALL JR.
Effects and Lighting Technical Director
William Houston Ball has worked both in front and behind the scenes for the last 20 years in feature films, television commercials, live musical concerts and videos, as well as theater. The last 15 years in Hollywood, he has worked primarily in the field of visual effects and has worked on more than 25 feature films. His list of credits include: Starship Troopers, Contact, Godzilla, Stuart Little, The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Golden Compass (winner of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects), The Incredible Hulk, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and, most recently, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Ball sits on the educational committee for the Visual Effects Society as well as the Advisory Board for Westwood College's School of Design. Ball graduated from Regent University in 2002 with a Master of Arts in Communication. He is currently working as an effects and lighting technical director at Rhythm and Hues Studios in Los Angeles, Calif.
President and Creative Director of Cooke Pictures
According to former CNN journalist Paula Zahn, filmmaker and media activist Phil Cooke is rare—he's a working producer in Hollywood with a Ph.D. in Theology. Christianity Today magazine calls him a "media guru," and his blog at philcooke.com is considered one of the most insightful resources on the web on issues of faith, culture and media. Through his company, Cooke Pictures, based in Burbank, Calif., Cooke advises many of the largest and most effective nonprofit and faith based media organizations in the world, and speaks at workshops, seminars and conferences on a global basis. Cooke speaks about issues related to faith and the media and has been interviewed extensively during the controversy surrounding subjects like the release of The Da Vinci Code, Christians who boycott Hollywood, the moral issues surrounding network TV programming, the place of values and meaning in media, and much more. He brings a new perspective to the issues of faith in the media and public square.
Star of Tyler Perry's House of Payne
Hailing from Holly Springs, Miss., Cassi Davis brings to the screen a wealth of personality and warmth. She has worked extensively over the years with Tyler Perry on such projects as the stage play and subsequent DVD, Madea Goes to Jail, as well as Perry's theatrical films, Daddy's Little Girls and Madea's Family Reunion. Her television credits include Living Single, Chicago Hope and the voice of Hud Woman in the claymation show The PJs, with Eddie Murphy. She has also made appearances in Woman Thou Art Loosed, School Daze, Silent Children and Big Otis Blues Revue. In 2004, Davis was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Theatre Award Committee (Los Angeles Chapter).
Chief Executive Officer of Tangle.com
As the Chief Executive Officer of tangle.com (Big Jump Media), Jason Illian seems to defy the need for just one title. His primary focus is guiding the global vision of the social media company, tangle.com, and their family-oriented initiatives. Named the fastest growing website in the world in August 2007, tangle.com is the largest family-friendly and faith based social network in the world and serves over 3 million users per month.
Jason is considered to be one of the few experts on technology and interpersonal relationships. Prior to joining tangle's executive team, Jason was the CEO of El Gato Media, a technology and media firm dedicated to the production of original, family friendly content for books, movies and television. He has authored two published books, including MySpace MyKids, a parent's guide to understanding the Web 2.0 world and Undressed: The Naked Truth about Love, Sex, and Dating. He served as the co-founder of the Theta Group, an innovative strategy company for high net worth families and as the Vice President of Institutional Finance for a multi-billion dollar investment management firm.
JARS OF CLAY
Christian Rock Band
Since winning the Gospel Music Association's Spotlight Competition in 1994, Jars of Clay has achieved multi-platinum status and collected numerous awards, including a 1997 Grammy, four Dove Awards and 15 career Dove nominations. They have also received extensive radio airplay on contemporary Christian, mainstream alternative rock and alternative pop stations resulting in 10 No. 1 singles. But what keeps audiences clamoring for more is the group's talent for blending edgy and dynamic sounds with thought provoking and pointed lyrics that challenge listeners to thrive outside of the typical.
Writer and Director
Cristóbal Krusen is the award-winning writer and director of Final Solution and First Landing, whose most current work, The Bill Collector, is a feature film comedy released in 2009. Krusen graduated from New York University with his BFA in Film and Television in 1976. His filmmaking career began that same year in New York City with a small production company making commercials and industrial films. In the years that followed, Krusen worked for other New York-based companies in a range of capacities, including script reader, film editor, writer and finally director/producer. In 1988, Krusen founded Messenger Films and wrote and directed a number of award-winning films, including Ropa Nueva para Felipe, ¿Con Quién Te Vas? and Final Solution. He is also the co-founder of Moonlit Pictures.
Ken Wales is a devout Christian and counts the likes of Philip Anschutz, owner of Bristol Bay Productions (Ray, Sahara) and Walden Media (Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia), Julie Andrews, and even Billy Graham among his good friends. He produced 1978's Revenge of the Pink Panther with Andrews' husband, Blake Edwards, and he brought the popular Christy series (starring Kellie Martin) to CBS in 1994. In 2007, he produced the film Amazing Grace. Wales co-produced the ABC eight-hour miniseries, Emmy® nominated and Golden Globe® winner John Steinbeck's, East of Eden, starring Jane Seymour, and was associate producer of the first season of Cagney and Lacey. He was vice president of production for Walt Disney Pictures and has served as production supervisor and consultant for many other features.
Singer and Songwriter
Karyn Williams is a singer and songwriter based in Nashville, Tenn., who is quickly making her mark in the country and Christian music worlds. A graduate of the University of Florida, Karyn holds a B.S. in Journalism/Broadcast Communications and held the title of Miss University of Florida 2000. She finished first runner-up in the Miss Florida pageant later that same year. Audiences across the country are raving about the companion song to the book, I'm Taking You With Me (available on iTunes or by visiting http://www.myspace.com/karynwilliams).
Former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Head of Television for William Morris Agency
Sam Haskell moved from Mississippi to Los Angeles in 1978 to work at William Morris. He became an agent in 1980, senior vice president by 1990, and executive vice president and worldwide head of television by 1999. After a 26-year career, he retired in 2004 to pursue philanthropic endeavors. In 2007, he was named one of the 25 Most Innovative and Influential People in Television over the last quarter century by TV Week. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, college sweetheart and former Miss Mississippi, Mary Donnelly Haskell, and their two children, Sam IV and Mary Lane. He helped produce and direct shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Murphy Brown, Roseanne and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He oversaw the careers of 40 top Hollywood entertainers. In addition to his work, Haskell has established a scholarship foundation in memory of his mother that is available to students in his home community who may not be able to attend college but would like to.
Journalist and Television Host
Kimberley Kennedy is an Emmy award-winning journalist and the producer, writer and anchor of WSB-TV's weekly news and entertainment show, Hot Topics, which airs in Atlanta, Orlando and Charlotte. As a former news anchor and reporter in Atlanta, she has covered stories ranging from fires and floods to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, hosting a daily morning talk show. Kimberley was born in Norfolk, Va., grew up in a tiny town of The Rock, Ga., and now lives in Atlanta.
Finance Expert, Author and Journalist
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times best seller, Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. She once had $100,000 in credit card debt before paying it all off in three years and turning her financial life around. Since then, she has appeared on national TV programs including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Tyra Banks Show and Good Morning America sharing her success story and teaching millions about proper money management. Khalfani-Cox, an award-winning financial news journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, has also been featured in top newspapers including the Washington Post, USA Today and the New York Times, as well as magazines ranging from Essence and Redbook to Black Enterprise and Smart Money. She can frequently be seen as a guest commentator on CNN, FOX Business Network and MSNBC.
Chairman and CEO of Max Media LLC
Gene Loving is chairman and CEO of Max Media LLC, a Virginia Beach media company that owns and operates television, radio and alternative media. In 1991, he co-founded Max Media Properties. The company grew to 17 different radio and television stations in 10 states and was sold to Sinclair Broadcast Group in July 1998. Loving began his career as an on-air personality in his hometown of Richmond, Va., in 1958. He served as music or promotion director and maintained his daily radio show during the 1960s at WGH, Norfolk, Va His interviews with the Beatles in the 1960s were syndicated across the United States and other countries. Additionally, from 1964 to 1969 Loving co-hosted a popular dance party television show on the Norfolk NBC affiliate. He is a former president and director of Operation Smile, an international children's health organization.
Founder, Josh McDowell Ministry
For more than 40 years, the Josh McDowell Ministry, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ International, has focused on serving and equipping churches, pastors, families and people everywhere in raising generations of purpose-driven Christians who know what they believe, why it is true and how to live out their Christian faith. Through the production of live events, ministry resources, electronic media and training, the Josh McDowell Ministry seeks to share the essentials of the Christian faith in everyday language so that the global church and individuals of all ages are prepared for the life of faith and the work of ministry.
Executive Producer, Franklin Springs Family Media
Steve Morales' role is the business side of film—providing financing for upcoming projects through a network of investors and philanthropists and expanding domestic and international distribution with companies interested in expanding their inventory of family-friendly films. Morales is a faithful husband and father and has seven beautiful children. He is also an accomplished businessman with many entrepreneurial endeavors to his credit. Franklin Springs produces movies and DVDs that encourage, inspire and motivate individuals and families. Nestled in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, on the town square in the creative haven of historic Franklin, Franklin Springs Family Media provides families with top-quality DVDs that encourage the building and strengthening of God-honoring family life.
Founder, Total Living Network
Television has been Jerry Rose's passion and calling for more than forty years. This broadcast veteran serves as president and CEO of Total Living International (TLI). TLI has owned and operated stations in California, Illinois, Nevada and an affiliate group of more than sixty Christian television stations nationwide. It produces and delivers Biblically relevant and compelling programs via broadcast, cable, digital and satellite. TLI's programming also airs in many foreign countries—in regions including Central Europe and the Middle East. Rose is also the host of a compelling interview program, On Screen, which features film and television celebrities candidly talking about their fame, fortune, family and faith. Rose and his wife, Shirley, cohost Significant Living, a series oriented toward a 50-plus viewing audience.