RSG Newsletter

March 2015
Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has served Regent University as Distinguished Professor of Law and Government for ten years. This edition of our newsletter reports on some of his activities on campus as well as festivities honoring his service.

John Ashcroft served with distinction as a state attorney general, Missouri governor, U.S. senator from Missouri, and later as attorney general of the United States. He brings all of this experience—legal, political, and personal—to his engagement with our students. He does so in the classroom, in private fora, and in casual events such as student dinners at his home.

This is the RSG difference: world-class practitioner-scholars impacting the lives of students, not just as guest lecturers but as on-campus professors. We are fortunate to have him, and I hope that you will help us in celebrating his ten years of superior service.

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Robertson School of Government

Watch the "Get to Know RSG" video.

Read more about RSG alumni.

For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.

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The 2015 Ronald Reagan Symposium

Friday, March 20, 2015
Regent University Campus - Main Theatre
View more information and register

About The 2015 Ronald Reagan Symposium

"Around the world today, a democratic revolution is gathering new strength." Ronald Reagan asserted this before the British Parliament in 1982. He challenged the West: "If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom ... we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy." Join us for the 2015 Ronald Reagan Symposium as we explore how well we're promoting liberty and today's U.S. policy toward democracy and democratization.


Faculty Story: U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft - Celebrating 10 Years

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft

Calling him a "man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law," President George W. Bush announced his decision to nominate John Ashcroft to serve as U.S. Attorney General on December 22, 2000. When Mr. Ashcroft left office four years later, violent crime was at a record low, gun crime was at an all-time low, a successful corporate crime crackdown had been launched, and more terrorist attacks on the U.S. had been prevented.

One of the most high-profile and experienced Attorneys General in the nation's history, Mr. Ashcroft led the U.S. law enforcement community through the challenging and transformational period following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. His tenure was highlighted by forceful public advocacy of President Bush's strong anti-terrorism strategy. His quiet government influence was rated highest inside the Bush Administration by The National Journal.

Raised in Springfield, Missouri, Mr. Ashcroft attended public schools until enrolling at Yale University, where he graduated with honors in 1964. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago in 1967. Prior to entering public service, Mr. Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He authored a book honoring his father, Lessons from a Father to His Son, and co-authored multiple editions of two college law textbooks with his wife, Janet. His career of public service began in 1973 as Missouri Auditor. He was later elected to two terms as the state's Attorney General. His colleagues in the non-partisan National Association of Attorney's General elected him as their President.

Mr. Ashcroft served as Governor of Missouri from 1985 through 1993 where he balanced eight consecutive budgets. Fortune magazine rated him one of the top ten education governors, while Financial World and City and State magazines credited him with making Missouri one of the best financially managed states. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governor's Association voted him Chairman.

Mr. Ashcroft was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and worked to reduce crime and safeguard the rights of crime victims. He co-sponsored a bill which designated 911 as the universal emergency number and was a leader in passing legislation directly responsible for allowing U.S. companies to utilize more aggressive encryption technology. During his entire career as senator, Mr. Ashcroft served on the Commerce Committee where he advocated for updated U.S. banking laws, the protection of consumer privacy, and increased personal responsibility on the part of consumers.

As U.S. Attorney General, Ashcroft reorganized The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to focus on its number one priority: to prevent another terrorist attack. Leveraging every legal tool available to law enforcement, including the critical tools provided in the USA PATRIOT Act, the DOJ initiated a tough antiterrorism campaign that has assisted in disrupting over 150 terrorist plots worldwide, dismantling terrorist cells in cities across America, and convicting 191 individuals in terrorism-related investigations to date.

At the direction of President George W. Bush, the DOJ established the Corporate Fraud Task Force to restore integrity to the marketplace by cracking down on companies and corporate executives who abused the trust of their employees and investors. Violent crime was driven to a 30-year low as the DOJ employed tough tools and tough penalties against criminals who victimized the innocent. The DOJ implemented President Bush's Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, increasing federal gun prosecutions by 76% and driving crimes with guns to a record low.

Today, Mr. Ashcroft serves as the Chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC which provides confidential strategic consulting and crisis counseling to major international corporations. In 2005 Mr. Ashcroft was named a Distinguished Professor in the schools of Law and Government at Regent University.

Student Story:

RSG Students Place Fourth in Debt Awareness Campaign

Robertson School of Government (RSG) students are celebrating after a competition to raise awareness about the national debt came to a close. Regent students went up against 49 other colleges and universities from 25 states in an initiative sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. After getting out the word to sign a petition and hosting a campus event with a panel of experts, Regent students placed in the top 6 nationwide in the 2015 Up to Us Competition.

"The quality of campaigns this year was so incredible and it was definitely very close," said Up to Us Program Associate Samantha Ethridge. "I want to congratulate everyone on your commitment this year and your highly impactful innovative campaigns."

Regent's campaign brought in 448 signatures to a petition urging law makers to pay attention to the $18 trillion dollars of debt the United States government has amassed. Competing RSG students held a panel discussion and personal financial education seminar, "My Two Cents Day," on February 12 to explore the implications the debt has on future generations.

"I am proud of Regent's team's efforts," said Dr. Eric Patterson, RSG dean. "The issue is one of stewardship, and that is a principle that we take very seriously at Regent."

This is the first year Regent students have participated in the Up to Us competition. They say they've learned a lot from the experience and are positioned to do well if they choose to compete again next year.

Alumni Story:

Jacob Ragsdale ('14) – RSG Alumni Officer

Jacob Ragsdale ('14)

Jacob Ragsdale, ('14) is a graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a minor in Leadership. He moved to Virginia Beach from his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania when he started his undergraduate degree in 2011. Jacob has spent five summers serving on the leadership staff of a Christian summer camp for inner-city youth in Pennsylvania, the same camp where he met his fiancé, Katie, a few years earlier. Jacob and Katie are excited for their wedding at the end of May and plan to settle in Virginia Beach. Pastoral ministry, particularly to youth and young adults, is one of Jacob's passions, which along with a sense of the Lord's calling, has prompted him to begin pursuing his Master of Divinity degree in Regent’s School of Divinity this coming August.

Jacob previously worked at Regent as a resident assistant and a tour leader and has developed a genuine passion for Regent's mission throughout his time on campus. In January, Jacob took the position of alumni officer for the graduate schools of Government, Law, Education, and Psychology and Counseling. As an alumni officer, he looks forward to building relationships with alumni who have gone out to fulfill Regent's mission to transform our world by the power of Jesus Christ. He believes that Regent University's greatest asset are the people whom the Lord continues to call there, and values the opportunity to serve those who have advanced from Regent to pursue excellence in the areas to which God calls them. He hopes to help Regent alumni take advantage of the connections, support, and opportunities available within the Regent community and assist them on their journey to success in their endeavors beyond Regent. "Our office is thrilled to have Jacob as part of our team. He brings a great deal of enthusiasm and experience working with students on our campus," says Melissa Fuquay, Director of Alumni Relations for Regent University.

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Recent Events

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft Celebrates 10 Years at Regent University

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft

A fast-paced basketball game in France provided a fond memory of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for Regent University alumnus and attorney Stephen P. Pfeiffer '07 (Law).

"I was one of the students in his first class at Regent Law when he taught abroad in Strasbourg. I'll never forget my fellow students and me playing basketball against the General on a court in France," Pfeiffer recalled. "I was tasked with guarding him, and I remember he had an unbelievable hook shot and he was very scrappy on defense. Likewise, I reminded him that I was a college linebacker, and my defense in basketball more closely resembled my style of play in football. Needless to say, the General and I exchanged several fouls during the game. From that day forward I earned the title 'Linebacker' from the General."

"Yet in that moment there were no official titles – professor, student or General – it was just a bunch of believers playing ball, and that memory will stay with me forever."

Pfeiffer is one of thousands of Regent students who have enjoyed sitting under Ashcroft's teaching in the classroom and fellowshipping with him in more casual settings outside of the classroom.

Many in the Regent community name the qualities of wisdom, integrity, excellence, courage and leadership when asked to describe the distinguished professor, who marks his 10-year anniversary with Regent this year.

"We are simply delighted with the association with John Ashcroft, a distinguished political leader and legal scholar," said Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, Regent's founder, chancellor and CEO. "John has been warmly received by students, and he has been an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher. We look forward to many more years of this splendid relationship."

Mr. Ashcroft has teaching appointments in Regent's School of Law and the Robertson School of Government (RSG), covering two subjects in particular, National Legal Policy, and Human Rights, Civil Liberties and National Security.

The real-world experience and leadership lessons that Ashcroft brings to Regent students is part of what makes Regent's academic environment so enriching. Students and faculty agree that learning from him and working alongside him is a privilege and a joy.

"General Ashcroft combines unparalleled experience and wisdom with a great love for students. He is a gifted teacher who invests in students' lives," says Jeffrey Brauch, dean of Regent's School of Law. "He often says the most important function of any culture is the transmission of values from one generation to the next. General Ashcroft is practicing what he preaches. Both in and out of class, General Ashcroft is equipping the next generation of lawyers to be thoughtful, principled and Godly leaders."

Robertson School of Government students develop relationships with their professors that often go beyond the classroom. Distinguished Professor of Law and Government John Ashcroft invited students to his Virginia Beach home for dinner in March. Ashcroft, a former U.S. senator, state governor, and U.S. Attorney General, has taught in the Robertson School of Government for ten years.

General Ashcroft and his wife, Janet, are well-known for their hospitality to students, from pasta dinners to home-made ice cream. He is also known for his love of singing, and General Ashcroft led the Regent University song and other familiar patriotic tunes and hymns from the piano following a discussion about leading presidential candidates.

Calling him a "man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law," President George W. Bush nominated Ashcroft to serve as attorney general in December 2000. One of the most high-profile and experienced attorneys general in the nation's history, Ashcroft led the U.S. law enforcement community through the challenging and transformational period following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.

"As the nation's chief law enforcement officer during the terrorist attacks on our homeland, General Ashcroft played a pivotal role in both investigating these heinous attacks as well as putting safeguards in place to protect the homeland in a post-9/11 world," said Dr. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice. "General Ashcroft is an exceptional, insightful leader who exhibits the highest level of integrity. His background and experience provide Regent students with a unique and valuable opportunity to learn from the very best."

Ashcroft's influence on the lives of his students has been both profound and personal.

"A couple summers ago, I had the privilege of taking General Ashcroft's Human Rights, Civil Liberties, and National Securities class in Strasbourg," recalled Abraham Haven, a third-year law student. "Some of the cases we were reading were cases the General had personally played a role in. It was a wonderful experience to learn from the General because he was able to help us understand from a first-hand perspective the mindset that formed the law."

For third-year Law student Leah Achor, Ashcroft's experience and Christian witness stand out.

"Because of General Ashcroft's commitment to sharing his story with Regent students, I have heard testimony of his character and courage in the face of political and personal opposition," Achor said. "Fundamentally, General Ashcroft's story has taught me that Christians in positions of power can succeed by being unabashedly faithful to God, not by denying who they really are."

Learning from Ashcroft extends beyond the classroom. Ice cream socials with party games and hymn sings around the piano are among the many events that Ashcroft and his wife, Janet, have hosted over the years, welcoming nearly 3,000 Regent students to their residence for conversations outside of the classroom. In these venues, Ashcroft's servant leadership is at the forefront, as he models what it means to serve his brothers and sisters in love.

"General Ashcroft's personal investment in students — such as personal dinners — combined with his thoughtful teaching give our students an experience not found at other universities," shared Dr. Eric Patterson, dean of the Robertson School of Government.

On March 3, the Regent community honored Ashcroft and his wife, Janet, with a reception that coincided with "Bow Tie Tuesday," a Regent Law student tradition in which Ashcroft always participates. After remarks and presentations, Ashcroft spoke of his appreciation for Regent's integration of faith and reason, which led him several years ago to pen lyrics that have been adopted as the university's school anthem. Set to the music of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," the hymn, "Regent, Host of Faith and Learning," embodies Regent's mission.

"The world believes the myth that faith and learning are incompatible," Ashcroft said, relating the story from the New Testament about two men on the road to Emmaus after Jesus' death. The King James translation of the Bible says they "reasoned together" as they walked, and as they reasoned, Jesus showed up to walk with them.

"That's a picture of Regent University," Ashcroft said. "Here, we reason together and invite the presence of God, and that results in a superior outcome."

After the reception, Mrs. Ashcroft shared her thoughts about being affiliated with Regent.

"It's been wonderful to be part of such a warm Christian community," she shared. "Serving at Regent has been so rewarding. We are privileged to see wonderful, bright young Christian people going out and changing the world for the better."

Pfeiffer offered another memorable moment of his student years with Ashcroft. Shortly after Pfeiffer and another Regent Law student won the national championship for the American Bar Association's Legal Negotiation competition, Pfeiffer spoke at an event with Ashcroft and shared the accomplishment with him and his wife.

"About two weeks later I received a postcard in the mail from General Ashcroft congratulating me on the victory with the following quote, "Keep working harder!" I've kept that postcard and the photo of him and me on my desk for the last 7 1/2 years. It has been a daily reminder to strive for excellence in every task."


Admiral Clark Addresses the Threat of ISIS

Admiral Vern Clark, USN (Ret.)

The long-time threat radical Islam has posed against the United States is well-known, but many still have questions about the rebranded terror group ISIS. Retired Navy Admiral Vern Clark visited a crowded room of guests in Robertson Hall to provide his perspective. He shared a history of how the group developed and how it continues to consolidate various groups within the Sunni sect of Islam.

"Fundamentally, we have a radical Islamic group that believes that they are ultimately supposed to capture the hearts and minds of the entire world," said Clark. "They are out to make that happen, utilizing any and all methods, and the campaign continues to evolve. The roots of ISIS have been here all along. We haven't recognized them for what they were because there have been other forces and strategies being employed within the radical Islamist movement that were easier for us to observe."

Clark discussed the long-standing struggle between the Sunnis and the Shia Muslims and especially how the Sunnis have dominated the leadership positions of many Muslim countries. He says the emergence of Sunni-led ISIS, and the shocking brutality of their tactics, will continue to alter the power landscape in the world of Islam. ISIS can be expected to continue its efforts to consolidate power by coercing tribes to join their cause.

Clark then questioned the audience how America, the world's only super power, ought to respond to these developments now that ISIS has obtained new stature and power. With an election year quickly approaching, he says Americans must ask themselves what they expect of their government when it comes to dealing with ISIS.

"We are totally in denial of the fact that we are engaged in a religious war, and we need to examine the issue personally and figure out what this means to us. They say we are, we say we're not. They're lining up Christians and cutting their heads off, yet we insist that it's not a religious war. In my view, we are engaged in one whether we acknowledge it or not."

Clark encouraged everyone to continue to educate themselves on the issue, suggesting that Americans have a lot to learn in order to understand what is actually taking place and develop a strategy to address it.

"A big, moral struggle is happening within the entire Muslim world," said Clark. "We have friends in the Muslim world who desperately want the world to be a peaceful place. If we think they are not intimidated by the actions that are occurring inside the Islamic world, we don't understand the world either. When we talk about the stature of a group like ISIS and the power they hold over individuals, they have large numbers of the non-radical members of the Islamic world frozen in fear, not knowing what to do because the radical world is willing to use any means possible to achieve their aim."

Admiral Clark brings 37 years of U.S. Navy experience having been Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now retired from the military, he was the second-longest serving Chief of Naval Operations, is heavily decorated and played a key role in posturing the Navy for the post-9/11 world, serving during its best recruiting and retention in the U.S. Navy's history. His leadership saved taxpayers billions of dollars while placing the Navy in its highest state of operational readiness in decades.

Clark continues to engage the issues of national security and enjoys lecturing as a Distinguished Professor at Regent University's Robertson School of Government. The public is invited several times per year to hear him speak about a current-events issue of importance. Learn more about the Robertson School of Government and Admiral Vern Clark.


RSG In the News: Dr. Jeffry Morrison – Civic Virtue

During the last week of February, Dr. Jeffry Morrison, Professor of Government in RSG, gave three lectures in snowy Wyoming and Colorado on civic virtue and the American Founding. Two lectures were delivered at a teachers' seminar sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The third was a lecture/discussion for faculty hosted by the Department of Political Science at the United States Air Force Academy, where Dr. Morrison taught prior to coming to Regent.



Upcoming Events

The 2015 Ronald Reagan Symposium
Friday, March 20, 2015
Regent University Campus - Main Theatre
View more information and register

Ethics, Media & Culture Conference: "Religious Freedom and Terrorism"
Friday, April 10 - Saturday, April 11, 2015
Regent University
View more information and register

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