The history of Regent University is an inspiring testament of what vision backed by excellence, innovation and integrity can accomplish.
Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson had an inspired vision of establishing a graduate-level institution that would train capable men and women for the challenge of representing Christ in their professions. In 1977, his vision materialized — a 70-acre parcel of land in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was cleared, the foundation was poured for the university’s first building, and an institution was incorporated as CBN University. The following year, 77 students began classes in modest, rented facilities nearby.
Today, thousands of students are earning their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at Regent University. Throughout its dramatic growth as a global center for Christian thought and action, the university has remained steadfast to its mission — Christian Leadership to Change the World.
The university was founded for the specific purpose of preparing leaders who would not only succeed in their professions but also advance as Christians equipped to effectively impact their world. It was that cause that brought 77 CBN University students together in 1978 to pursue their graduate degrees in communication, albeit in rented classroom space under the guidance of seven faculty members.
The Regent Timeline emphasizes the university’s steady growth since those humble beginnings, as well as its commitment to academic excellence. Highlights from the beginning to today include:
The university is incorporated as CBN University, a nonprofit graduate education institution.
Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson is officially appointed president of, then, CBN University.
Students in the School of Communication & the Arts begin classes in September.
The first class graduates in May.
The School of Education opens in October.
The university dedicates its first building, the Administration Building, on campus in Virginia Beach.
Ground is broken for the University Library.
The School of Business and the School of Divinity open.
The university receives full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Regent University School of Law opens.
The School of Psychology & Counseling is founded.
The Board of Trustees votes to change the name of CBN University to Regent University.
Regent opens its Washington, D.C., location.
The School of Leadership Studies develops an online M.A. program in Organizational Leadership, marking Regent as a model for online graduate education.
An undergraduate degree-completion program is introduced to give working adults opportunities to complete bachelor’s degrees in an accelerated format.
The 135,000-square-foot Communication & Performing Arts Center opens as one of the most technologically advanced communication buildings on the East Coast.
The 31,000-square-foot Student Center opens on campus in Virginia Beach, offering a close sense of community.
Regent celebrates 25 years of growth and influence with the kick-off of the Clash of the Titans® debate series.
Kick-off of the annual intramural flag football championship game, dubbed the “Chili Bowl” in 2009 with the addition of an annual chili cook-off.
Regent creates its School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, the result of combining its School of Leadership Studies and School of Business.
Regent Law produces the winning team of the American Bar Association’s 2007 Negotiation Competition, succeeding Harvard.
Regent Commons fully furnished residential apartments open, boasting four floor plans, a laundry room, a fitness center, and other amenities for students.
Regent celebrates its 30th anniversary. The School of Undergraduate Studies launches Regent’s first associate degree programs.
Regent Law celebrates its 25th anniversary. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito visits campus to commemorate the milestone.
The 22,000-square-foot Chapel and connecting 36,000-square-foot Divinity Building open, providing a unifying venue where students, faculty, staff and the community can experience the presence of God as well as classrooms, offices and a welcome center.
Regent opens its first science laboratory to support a new degree in Biophysical Sciences, marking the university’s entry into deeper study of the natural and physical sciences.
Regent’s 20,000th graduate crosses the stage at Commencement on May 9, 2015.
Regent Law’s Moot Court program ranks in the Top 10 nationally.
Distinguished Professors, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Admiral Vern Clark, mark 10 years of teaching at Regent.
The first of five 2016 White House hopefuls, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, speaks at Regent-hosted Presidential Candidate Forums. Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks one month later. Then, over the span of six days in February 2016, three more top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination visited the campus: Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz and former Regent trustee Dr. Ben Carson. (Candidates from both parties were given the opportunity to share political ideas and campaign platforms in a balanced, non-debate format. Regent University does not endorse candidates for public office.)
Regent achieves historic enrollment of 8,000 students for its March session.
Regent introduces plans for a state-of-the-art Athletic Complex and welcomes its first athletic director and competitive track team.
Regent launches a partnership with Corbin Bernson’s Home Theater films to produce In-Lawfully Yours. The film was written by a Communication & the Arts professor, and many COM students received a professional film credit for their participation on set in production, editing, filming and acting roles.
Regent’s School of Divinity achieves historic enrollment of 1,000 students for its March session. The university also celebrated its 10,000th student in total enrollment.
Regent announces its new team name, Regent Royals, derived from 1 Peter 2:9: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Regent launches a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art Cyber Range within the Institute for Cybersecurity. This hyper-realistic simulation platform is one of the nation’s most powerful platforms offering real-world cyber attack and defense training.
Regent Law receives top overall bar passage rate in the Commonwealth of Virginia (February 2018).
Regent hosts first cybersecurity summit and also graduates first cybersecurity students.
College of Healthcare Sciences and School of Nursing launched, after unanimous approval in 2017 by the Regent University Board of Trustees. First RN to B.S. in Nursing students graduate.
Regent is ranked among Top National Universities – U.S. News & World Report, 2019.
Regent is named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency (NSA). First B.S. in Cybersecurity students graduate.
Regent launches the Center for Christian Thought & Action, inspiring thought leaders from all over the world to tackle the profound and unsolvable problems of today’s culture.
CBN and Regent Christmas Village Inaugural event welcomed several thousand community members to campus for a free German town-inspired Christmas village complete with live nativity and a 40-foot Christmas tree.
Regent’s RN to B.S. in Nursing program receives accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Regent Chapel dedicated to Jack and Jane Shaw and renamed Shaw Chapel in their honor.
Regent Law launches the Grace Community Law Clinic in downtown Norfolk.
Regent Theatre named Dede Robertson Theatre in honor of Regent’s longtime board member and wife of the school’s founder, chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson.
Regent responds to COVID-19 pandemic with Ready, Set, Regent initiative, including: expanded online resources, Healthcare Hero Scholarship® and Social Distancing Scholarship®, early college incentives, a tuition freeze, and a series of free Great Talks® webinars to help individuals navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 environment.
Study.com ranks Regent University the #1 Accredited Online College in the United States.
Regent celebrates its 40th Commencement Ceremony and first virtual commencement, conferring nearly 2,300 degrees.
Regent Law unveils Robertson Center for Constitutional Law.
Regent develops state-of-the-art Regent Ready: COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
Regent launches The Honors College, welcoming nearly 100 on-campus students into its inaugural class.
#RegentPrays campaign kicks off, to encourage global prayer and revival.
Regent’s Master of Science in Nursing program receives accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Hon. Michele Bachmann is named dean of the Robertson School of Government.
Regent is ranked #1 Best Online Program in Virginia by USNWR for the ninth consecutive year and also listed among top national universities.
Regent hosts Election Integrity Conference with keynote speakers including Dr. Ben Carson, Eric Metaxas, and other prominent thought leaders.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives keynote address at Commencement.
Dr. William Hathaway assumes the role of Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Anna Ord is named new dean of the School of Psychology & Counseling.
Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson announces his transition from host of The 700 Club to dedicate more time to teaching Regent University students.
Regent announces the formation of the College of Health & Behavioral Sciences, to include the School of Psychology & Counseling, the School of Nursing, and the School of Allied Health.
Regent received the following top-ranking accolades:
#1 Online Christian College in America (BibleCollegeOnline)
#1 Best Online College in Virginia (Intelligent.com)
#1 Safest College Campus in Virginia (YourLocalSecurity)
#1 Most Affordable Private College in Virginia (Student Loan Hero)
#1 Best Value College in Virginia (Best Value Schools)
#1 Theological & Ministerial Online Doctoral Degree (GradDegree)
Regent enrolled more than 13,000 students on campus and online during the 2021-2022 academic year.
With 2,559 degrees conferred, the class of 2022 was the largest graduating class in Regent’s history. Regent’s 42nd Commencement exercises were celebrated on campus with the three highest-ranking officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia: Gov. Glenn Youngkin gave the keynote address at Commencement; Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears was honored as Regent’s Alumna of the Year; and Atty. Gen. Jason Miyares gave the keynote address at the School of Law Commissioning ceremony.
The fall 2022 on-campus freshman cohort was 10% larger than last fall, and these incoming freshmen had an average GPA of 3.67—the highest average GPA in Regent history.
Regent launched 17 new undergraduate certificates—with three to six classes each—offered both online and on-campus.
Regent formed a new study abroad partnership with Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a public research university founded by Albert Einstein.
To honor the nation’s first responders, Regent deployed a 25% tuition discount for firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and rescue workers.
Regent unveiled a new Institute of Music & Worship—a world-class center for innovative training in music and worship arts to train the next generation of musicians and worship leaders for global impact.
Regent University School of Law received a reaffirmation of accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA). Regent Law also welcomed a new dean, Bradley J. Lingo, J.D., and launched a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Law degree program in Fall 2022.
Regent’s MBA, B.S. in Business and B.S. in Accounting received a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The B.S. in Marketing, B.S. in Management and B.S. in Human Resources received a 10-year initial accreditation from ACBSP.
Regent mourned the loss of Mrs. Adelia “Dede” Robertson, beloved wife of Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. The Dede Robertson Student Center was officially named in her honor, and Regent announced expansion plans, including a new patio addition. Regent also mourned the loss of Hon. Kenneth W. Starr, who served on the Regent University Board of Trustees.
Regent University launched an official podcast, How to Actually Change the World.
Regent received the following top-ranking accolades:
- #1 Online Bachelor’s in Virginia for the 10th consecutive year (U.S. News & World Report)
- #1 Online Christian College in the nationfor the second year in a row (Bible College Online)
- #1 Best Dorms in Virginia (Niche)
- “Great Colleges to Work For” Honor Roll for the 14th year, and first-time honors in all 10 categories on the Honor Roll (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Regent University mourned the loss of its beloved founder, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. Over 2,000 people gathered for a memorial service in the Shaw Chapel on June 20, 2023, to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Robertson.
Regent’s 43rd Commencement exercises conferred nearly 2,500 degrees. The keynote address was brought to the graduates and attendees by Ambassador Nikki R. Haley; the alumnus of the year speech was brought by CBN News Senior International Correspondent George Thomas, and School of Communication and Arts graduate Erick J. Frederick shared his graduate reflection.
The Virginia General Assembly honored Regent University with a Resolution of Commendation at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia.
Regent University completed the rollout of a new learning management system in Fall 2023: Canvas by Instructure.
Dr. Simon Tarr was named Director of the School of Communication and the Arts.
Regent University unveiled its new state-of-the-art piano lab in the Communication Building.
Regent University announces its pursuit of NCAA Division III.
Chancellor Gordon Robertson hosted his inaugural Chancellor’s Forum with the Regent University Honors College on September 26, 2023.
Regent University Women’s Volleyball Team makes history as the 2023 NCCAA South Regional Champions.
Regent received the following top-ranking accolades:
Tier 1 Best National University for the 5th consecutive year (U.S. News & World Report)
#1 Online Bachelor’s in Virginia for the 11th consecutive year (U.S. News & World Report)
#1 Best Online MBA Program for Return on Investment (Fortune Magazine)
“Great Colleges to Work For” Honor Roll for the 15th year (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Today, thousands of students earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the school’s campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, or via online learning. Our student body represents all 50 states, 88 countries and 38 denominations. We have prepared over 27,000 alumni to succeed in their careers and to make a positive difference in the world.
Our academic programs are as rigorous as they are rewarding. Regent student teams regularly win national competitions in their fields of study, and our alumni have been honored for professional achievements in their disciplines.
The distinct mission of Regent has drawn students, administrators, and distinguished faculty and guest lecturers from around the world. Regent employs 158 full-time faculty and 743 adjunct professors, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Review Regent University Facts for a closer look at the accomplishments and prominence of our university.
Beyond milestone events and dates or facts and figures, Regent remains a premier educational institution dedicated to combining quality education with biblical teachings. The dramatic changes that have taken place are the result of divine inspiration and unwavering dedication to the mission as reflected in our motto — Christian Leadership to Change the World.
“Regent, Host of Faith and Learning” by John Ashcroft
Regent host of faith and reason
Framed in God’s own law and grace.
As we meditate and study
He instructs us for life’s race;
Vision of God’s pure intention
Sacrifice to make it live.
Fellowship in His creation
God inspires our hearts to give.
As we turn our face toward heaven
God directs our hands to need.
When we kneel to make petition
He endows so we can lead.
Integrating faith and learning
Spirit, body, mind for Thee
Regent working for the Kingdom
Now and for eternity.
Workers ever in His kingdom
Now and in eternity.