Walking into Regent University School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) professor Andrew “Andy” Freeman’s office is like stepping into a mirth-y world of pop culture history.
By his desk sits a near foot-tall Rocky Balboa figurine who yells a scratchy, “Adrienne!” On his bookshelves stand a display of collector’s tchotchkes, including George W. Bush dressed as a cowboy.
Freeman joined SCA faculty during Fall semester 2016 – his second lap as a Regent professor, having first worked for the school in the early ’00s. But his journey to the school – and even Christianity itself – started much earlier.
He was raised by a single mother in the heart of Chicago.
“That was during a time when that was considered a little more ‘inappropriate’ than it is now. But she did a wonderful job, raised me in the church and raised me to love the Lord,” said Freeman. “Then I became your typical hellion.”
His love of those memories and of his hometown still runs strong, evidenced by the various Chicago Cubs paraphernalia waiting to be displayed in his office.
“This is their year,” he said over a steaming cup of creamy coffee. He sips it from a yellow Beatles-themed mug. “They’re going to win it all, I tell people it’s my non-biblical sign of the end-times.”
Through the prayer of his family, and the “power of prayer,” he came to know Christ as an adult. At the end of his seeking-journey during undergraduate school, his mother, a 700 Club fan, made him aware of a new graduate school in Virginia Beach.
“I should’ve prayed about it and then sent in the application, but I sent in the application then prayed about it,” said Freeman. “We do those things in life.”
But, he says the Lord was faithful “no matter the order” of his decisions. He soon became accepted among Regent’s first-ever class of 77 students who answered to seven professors – one of whom was Dr. John Keeler, who is now one of Freeman’s SCA colleagues.
“He reminds me of those days,” said Freeman. “He says he likes me better now than he did then, but I don’t believe him for a minute.”
Freeman completed his master’s degree with an emphasis on television and film, with his heart and intentions set on returning to his hometown. But all that changed when he met a young woman in registration, a Hampton Roads native. The two were married and settled in the area as he started his career in television, working his way up from production assistant to “above the line” work for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
And all-the-while, he watched Regent grow from afar.
“One of my greatest joys was that there was a place where I could come and learn and discover tools of the trade, but I could do it in the environment of my new faith,” said Freeman. “And I could use those tools to tell stories and communicate my faith to the world.”
Freeman used those tools in many ways over his years of professional experience, ranging from work all over the United States, serving clients such as Reinhard Bonnke, St. Jude’s Cancer Research and World Vision.
“Instead of standing in lots, I was standing in places like Bangladesh and Haiti,” said Freeman. “It was so exciting, so eye-opening, and so wondrous to produce things that showed people in difficult life conditions, and how caring and sharing can make a difference in the name of the Lord.”
And though much has changed since his first days in the SCA program – a world of 8-tracks and recording on video – he’s certain of one everlasting element of the world in which he teaches and mentors:
“I want to help students in this current, digital, ever-changing environment to say the thing that doesn’t change is the story of redemption,” said Freeman. “We need to find new ways to tell it and the latest avenues to distribute it, so people can hear it.”
Learn more about Regent University’s School of Communication & the Arts.