Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner
At the recent meeting of the university's board of trustees, two of our own were promoted. Dr. Gary Roberts, past interim dean of RSG, was promoted to the rank of full professor and Dr. Mary Manjikian was promoted to the rank of associate professor. Manjikian is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Durham this semester.
I am delighted with this news: it underscores years of service and hard work on their parts. This month we also celebrate two who are leaving us, Professor Joseph Kickasola upon his retirement and M.A. graduate Nathan Gill. Kickasola (Ph.D., Brandeis) is an expert in ancient Near Eastern languages and law who has taught from primary texts for both RSG and the law school. He is retiring after 28 years of service at Regent University. Gill has offers to pursue his Ph.D. in Political Science at numerous major universities.
These individuals remind us that despite Regent University being a young university, it is committed to quality in the classroom. The most important product is our students: individuals like Nathan Gill who can go out and compete in major doctoral programs, or in the hurly-burly of political life, or in whatever form of public service they pursue. They leave Regent grounded intellectually, ethically, and spiritually and ready to make a difference in the world.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of speakers, seminars, and events, please see our webpage.
Dr. Joseph Kickasola, having a joint appointment with the School of Government and School of Law, is retiring at the end of the school year with 28 years of service to write two books on Biblical and Sharia Law. He was the University's Outstanding Professor of the Year in 1988. In view of his upcoming retirement, he took time to answer some of our questions and provide reflections of his 28 year journey, his family and his life.
-RSG Newsletter Editor
My full name is Joseph Nello Kickasola (b. 1940), and my hometown is Delmont, where my family had a chicken farm near the southern tip of New Jersey. My schooling and graduations have been as follows:
|1954||Delmont (NJ) Grammar School, diploma (this was a two-room school house: kindergarten through 4th grade downstairs, 5th through 8th grades upstairs!);|
|1958||Millville (NJ) High School, diploma, emphasis in Agriculture (FFA);|
|1962||Houghton (NY) College, B.A., emphasis in Bible, Greek and Latin;|
|1966||Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA), M.Div., emphasis in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, and Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics;|
|1969||Brandeis University (Waltham, MA), M.A. in ancient languages, emphasis in Middle and Late Egyptian hieroglyphics, Babylonian cuneiform, and Ugaritic Canaanite.|
|1975||Brandeis University, Ph.D. in ancient languages, emphasis in Coptic, Hittite, more Egyptian hieroglyphics, Hebrew and Arabic. My Ph.D. dissertation was in Coptic syntax.|
I came to the school in 1985 to join what was then called the School of Public Policy and the School of Divinity (where I taught Hebrew and Aramaic courses). Soon afterward I also taught in the new School of Law. In terms of my personal pilgrimage, the main benefit of my coming to Regent was to gain the assistance of professors at a Christian graduate university, one with schools in government and law to help me work through my specialization in the relationship of Biblical law and governance to classical and modern nations, teaching I could not get in any seminary.
What sets RSG apart from other schools and programs, obviously, is its specific focus on government, but more specifically, not only are all of its teachers professing Christians, but each one is devoted to teaching their particular government discipline through ideas consistent with Biblical and historic Christian principles. Thus, we faculty are constantly updating our curriculum to meet what contemporary students need to reach their goals and aspirations, and with full technical support. We also bring to campus government leaders and major thinkers who address our students and faculty on the details of public service.
When asked to share my experience in how I integrate my faith with education and career, I usually offer a carefully reasoned response, such as the following. Integration of faith and reason requires a unified theory of truth, which starts with the premise that true faith and true reason are very different things, but are not contradictory things. A simple example of this attempt at integration is that the Bible and the common man speak of a lovely sunrise, and a scientist speaks of a lovely earth-rotation. The lovely sunrise, to people all over the world, is phenomenally true, and the lovely earth-rotation is astronomically true, both being very different but non-contradictory expressions of truth through the different but non-contradictory languages of Scripture and science. This, briefly, is how I integrate faith and reason in my personal thinking, in my teaching, and in my academic career.
My favorite politician of all time is Winston Churchill of England, not only because of his indispensable leadership in World War II, but also because of his inimitable use of the English language, especially in his public addresses, which cheer my linguistic heart. My second favorite is Abraham Lincoln, who saved our Union through the most terrible Civil War, and who was the most influential person in outlawing slavery.
An exceptional experience I have had with an RSG student, one particular experience often comes to mind. One evening years ago after working very late at Regent, I was walking through one of its parking lots to my car, and I noticed that one of my students in Government was living and sleeping in her car! The following morning I had the duty to report this to someone in the university with authority over me, knowing that this was a danger, not only to her, but to Regent. When he heard this, he decided to take immediate action against this breach of university rules. At this point I urged him not to report it, explaining that she was totally out of money, and that some of my children were in college, leaving an empty room at my home to house her. This is what I and my wife did, rent free, until she got a job, got out of debt and could sustain herself. She eventually got her M.A. in Government at Regent, and landed a job in a Christian ministry, which job she still holds to this day. We continue to stay in contact.
Finally, I was asked to reflect on this year's 30th Anniversary of RSG. In the Bible, the 30th year is the age of maturity. If 30 years is the age of maturity for individuals to enter office, is also true for the maturity of institutions in office, then the Robertson School of Government is leaving the age of beginning and now entering into an age of new beginnings in maturity. May the Lord give us as an institution the wisdom of our years, in leadership, vision, obedience, teaching and writing, and in an abundance of students, all enjoying the peace and prosperity of this place.
Slated to graduate in May with a M.A. in Government, Nathan Gill plans to continue his educational journey by earning his Ph.D. — aspiring one day to become a professor of history and political thought. "God has used my time here are Regent to broaden my concept of what Christian higher education can and should be," says Gill.
Raised in rural upstate New York, Gill longs to return to his roots to make a difference. Homeschooled along with his three brothers, Gill says his early education fueled his love of great books, history and politics. Motivated to make a difference by the economic downturn of 2008 and its devastating effect on a family business, Gill worked for his local U.S. congressman. His work helping people in small business eventually led him to Regent.
"I ultimately realized politics' inability to deliver on its promises to solve the root causes in society," says Gill. Rejecting an offer to work in D.C. on Capitol Hill, Gill ended up at the Robertson School of Government hoping to prepare himself to make a more long-lasting impact on government through education.
Upon his arrival at Regent, Gill began working as a graduate assistant for Dr. Jeffry Morrison, an expert in American political thought. Gill says, "If I had to choose one highlight of my time here at Regent, it is my working experience with Professor Morrison as a research assistant. Working with him has taught me first-hand how to honor God with my mind." Gill believes the personal relationships students have with faculty members sets RSG apart from other higher education institutions.
Gill says Morrison has been instrumental in his decision to pursue a Ph.D. Gill says, "Aspiring Ph.D.'s face tremendous pressure to relegate their faith to Sunday mornings. Learning from scholars like Dr. Morrison has helped me to learn to talk about my faith intelligently and in terms other academics can understand," say Gill.
Recently, Gill had the opportunity to represent the university student body by traveling to Richmond, VA with Regent President Carlos Campo for a meeting with Virginia Governor McDonnell ('89). "Having the chance to meet the governor impressed upon me the impact for truth that a Regent graduate can have in an often difficult political environment."
In 2008, a continent away from Virginia Beach, Javkhlantugs Ganbaatar ('10) was inspired by Regent University and the motto: "Christian Leadership to Change the World." Today, Ganbaatar is back in his native Mongolia aspiring to live out this motto as an advisor of external affairs for the largest mining company in Mongolia. Ganbaatar routinely advises Parliament members and government agencies regarding national energy policies and Mongolia's political climate.
Prior to his current position, Ganbaatar worked as a political analyst with the same company. "Thanks to the intensive requirement of working on research papers and exercises of critical thinking and analysis at RSG, I was able to analyze the political environment here and write political reports without any major headaches," Ganbaatar says.
Crossing the ocean to become a student at the School of Government, Ganbaatar stresses the importance of Regent University's international reputation: "Regent University has an excellent reputation that enables our alumni to work nationally (in the U.S.) or internationally in public offices or prestigious organizations after they graduate." He notes his experience of mentorship with the RSG faculty who provided advice and support were invaluable.
Ganbaatar says he had great experiences as a student, such as "being taught by Distinguished Professor Charles Dunn (former Fulbright chairman) and Dr. Doug Walker (former UN economist), serving as the RSG Student Chaplain, interning at the United Nations headquarters, and being part of the annual Reagan Symposium were great rewards for me." When he graduated in 2010, Javkhlantugs received the RSG Outstanding Service Award for his service as RSG chaplain.
As a student, he led the Executive Board of the International Students' Organization at Regent. "My fellow board members were from India, Bolivia, and Brazil, and I worked to build a great team so we could successfully meet the challenge of re-instituting the International Festival. I also had an opportunity to serve as one of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, which gave me lots of opportunities and adventures," he says.
Ganbaatar says his most challenging class was Congressional Leadership. "Dr. Dunn required hard work, and had very high expectations of his students. However, I enjoyed every minute of his class."
While interning at the UN Headquarters in New York City as a delegate for an NGO, Ganbaatar says he learned a great deal regarding advocacy and lobbying. Ganbaatar was also able to secure an internship with an U.S. Congressman in Washington D.C. who advises Mongolian Parliament members.
Inspired by such political figures as Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan, Ganbaatar seeks to become a great leader for Mongolia. In 2011, he had the opportunity to meet the President of Mongolia, "Our president is fighting to strengthen democracy and the rule of law after our countries communist rule," says Ganbaatar.
Since there is a presidential election in Mongolia this year, Ganbaatar will be busy monitoring the election and engaging with multiple stakeholders. With a passion to raise up future leaders for his nation to positively influence their local communities, Ganbaatar' s main focus is to excel in his work and continue to learn about Mongolian politics, while walking out his faith as a witness to the people surrounding him.
"This is a magical year for the Robertson School of Government," said Admiral Vern Clark, USN (Ret.) as he spoke to Regent University students, faculty and staff. The distinguished professor of the School of Business & Leadership (SBL) and Robertson School of Government (RSG) addressed the 30-year mile mark for RSG during his semi-annual policy briefing on Thursday, April 11.
Regent University's Robertson School of Government dean, Dr. Eric Patterson, was selected for membership in the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in March. The world's two elite foreign policy membership organizations are the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the IISS. Patterson is already a term member of the CFR, and this invitation to IISS reaffirms his position as a leading expert in the field.
Regent Students Venture to D.C. for CPAC 2013
Seven Regent students and members of the Regent University Conservative Union (RUCU) traveled to D.C. for the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Hearing influential speakers such as Senator Mark Rubio (R-FL), Senator Paul Rand (R-) and Governor Bobby Jindahl (R-LA) provided the opportunity to learn about the deeper intellectual roots of conservatism, network with likeminded conservatives and represent Regent University.
Eric Lupardis, RUCU's vice president said, "not only was CPAC a place where those who love politics could see their heroes up close and personal, it was a place to share ideas, and get encouraged that there are people of like mind and like passion."
Executive Leadership Series: Virginia Governor McDonnell
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Chesapeake Conference Center
900 Greenbrier Circle
Chesapeake, VA 23320
View event details.
RSG Commissioning Service and Reception
Friday May 3, 2013
Regent University, Robertson Hall
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Regent University Commencement Service
Saturday, May 4, 2013
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Regent University Military Band Concert - Armed Forces Day
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Regent University, Communications Building, Main Theatre
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
View event details.