RSG Newsletter

June 2016
Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Robertson School of Government! We have just finished a tremendous year of growth, scholarship, and teaching; and our graduates left campus to make their mark as "Christian leaders to change the world."

In this edition of our newsletter you will meet award-winners from the class of 2016, including our Outstanding M.A. in Government student Malcolm Fitschen and our Outstanding MPA graduate Katherine Zasadny. You will also learn about the transition of RSG alum, and outgoing professor, Dr. Paul Bonicelli, who is leaving the university for a senior position with the Acton Institute. Paul will be sorely missed by his friends and students at Regent University!

When I reflect on these students and colleagues, I am truly thankful for the opportunity to advance RSG's mission of training the next generation of leaders in the Judeo-Christian principles that undergird our society, particularly individual liberty, constitutional democracy, and representative government.

Warm regards,

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.

Back to top


Faculty Story: Dr. Bonicelli joins Acton Institute

Dr. Paul Bonicelli has accepted a position as the Director of Programs with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. It has been an honor to serve alongside such a dedicated and wise professor. Dr. Bonicelli has served Regent University and the Robertson School of Government since 2011, and he will be missed by the faculty, staff, and students.

At the RSG going-away event for Dr. Bonicelli, Dean Patterson observed, "Paul Bonicelli is nationally known for his love of God and his love of country. His departure is a tremendous loss for the university but a great gain to an organization with similar principles." At the event, the RSG faculty gave Dr. Bonicelli an artist's print of Washington, DC on July 4 to honor his patriotism and service.

Dr. Bonicelli, a 1987 graduate of Regent, has an extensive career in higher education administration and government service that includes a presidential appointment (with Senate confirmation) as assistant administrator for the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and an appointment as deputy assistant administrator of USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. He has also served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. He has served as chief academic officer at three universities.

The Acton Institute is named after the great English historian, Lord John Acton who is best known for his remark, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Inspired by his work on the relation between liberty and morality, the Acton Institute seeks to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing.


Recent Events

Regent University Graduates the Class of 2016

About 1,500 Regent University graduates launched their futures with fresh degrees at Regent University's 2016 commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 7. The Virginia Beach campus hosted thousands of friends and family members in its largest annual event celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2016.

"The cloud must not have got the message, but it will be on its way out of here soon!" said Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, Regent University founder, chancellor and CEO, as cloudy skies began to clear in time for commencement. "This is the largest commencement in Regent's history."

Founding member of U.S. Army's Delta Force, LTG (ret) William G. "Jerry" Boykin addressed graduates. He brought wisdom from his experience with the U.S. Army, CIA and Family Research Council, and as an ordained minister, husband, father and grandfather. He asked five things of graduates – that they know what they believe and uphold the integrity and solidarity of family, embark on a quest for life-long learning, remember history while keeping current, get involved in their communities, and be proud to be Americans.

"What do you believe in?" asked Boykin. "Everything you believe in is going to be challenged when you leave this place."

Boykin says many people no longer know or understand what they believe. He said some institutions of higher learning reject the teaching of western civilization, people on the street can't identify historical events and their significance in America's past, and Christians are conforming to the patterns of this world. He encouraged Christians to get involved by voting, volunteering and holding their leaders accountable.

"Get out and vote, and be involved!" said Boykin. "Teach Sunday School. Can you coach? Do you have an athletic skill? Go out and coach children. There are so many fatherless children in our country today. They need a man or a mother who will influence them."

Boykin wrapped up his remarks by reminding graduates they are part of the greatest country on earth and they should be proud to be Americans.

Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Regent's executive vice president of academic affairs, recognized outstanding graduates from each of Regent's eight schools, and Robertson pronounced his charge to graduates.

"My charge is to be strong," said Robertson. "You are going to encounter all kinds of opposition. The culture today is hostile to religious belief. You're going into a hostile culture, but at the same time, you're going into an accepting culture because people around the world are hungry to know the truth of God. People by the tens of millions are coming to the Lord."

Robertson encouraged students, sharing a story from his ministry at CBN, that many people of different languages are receiving the network's television programming and are hearing about Christ.

"The apostle Paul said it so well," said Robertson. "He said, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God unto salvation for whoever believes.' So, when you go forth from this place, my charge for you today is be strong! Be very courageous, because the author of all life, the creator of the heavens and the earth is with you. God almighty will be with you… and remember, you will be a victor, and we pray for your victorious life, and we look forward to you coming back and tell us of the accomplishments you are achieving as the graduates of Regent University."

Dr. Kathleen Patterson, professor in the School of Business and Leadership (SBL), received the Chancellor's Award, which is presented each year to an outstanding faculty member. Patterson serves as the program administrator for the school's Doctorate of Strategic Leadership (DSL) program and is known for her scholarship, expertise and work in the area of servant leadership. The SBL credits her with establishing its reputation in the topic, and adding a Christian perspective to scholarly research in servant leadership. Her work has created concentrations in three different programs across two of Regent's schools.

A new recognition was presented to those who, over their lifetime, have donated one million dollars or more to Regent University. Five inaugural members were inducted into the Society of the Cross and Shield.

The 2016 Alumna of the Year, Kristen Waggoner, Esq., '97 (LAW), and senior vice president of legal services and senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, encouraged graduates to become world-changing alumni.

"Graduates, God has intentionally placed in you specific talents, skills and passions, and the university has helped you to hone those talents and skills to further your vocation," said Waggoner. "God has not given you those talents or those skills to serve your own desires, because God has not just saved you from something, he saved you for something. That is the good news. Ephesians tells us He created, in advance, good works for you to do. In light of this truth, I urge you to fully embrace that calling with courage, to stand immovable, and abound in the work of the Lord."

Graduates stepped across stage to receive their diplomas and shake hands with their deans. Also, during the ceremony, two undergraduate ROTC students were commissioned into the military. Proud parents and friends continued to celebrate once the ceremony concluded. They posted pictures of their graduates using #RegentGrad16.

"Like" Regent's Facebook page or follow the university on Twitter (@RegentU) to see more graduation coverage and pictures.


Dean Patterson Speaks at Baylor University

Baylor University hosted the annual meeting of Christians in Political Science, an organization of social science faculty from secular and faith-based organizations, on June 11-12. Faculty from across the country, including RSG's Dean Eric Patterson, attended.

Patterson spoke on a panel titled, "Love and War? Historical Cases and Contemporary Challenges to the Just War Tradition." The panel shined a light not only on actions but also on the motives of belligerents, particularly the U.S., during times of war and post-conflict. The panel was chaired by Baylor's Josh King and included Daniel Strand (Arizona State University) and Marc LiVecche, managing editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy.

The panel's theme was how just war theory's emphasis on neighbor love can help make sense of the ethical imperatives leaders and soldiers face when confronting evil. In the late fourth century Augustine wrote that just wars right past wrongs, prevent future wrongs, and punish wrong-doers. In a letter to a soldier, Augustine noted that love of God and love of neighbor impel military and law enforcement personnel to take up the sword, and that such actions can be virtuous, if done so with the right intentions.

Dean Patterson's essay was a chapter from a forthcoming book on ethical challenges in U.S. wars, from the War of Independence through Vietnam. His case study was the post bellum work done by the U.S., at tremendous cost, in the Philippines after victory in the Spanish-American War. He writes, "Few Americans today realize the massive public works and civil administration efforts associated with Governor General (and future U.S. president) William Howard Taft. Taft became a beloved fixture in Manila and promoted land reform, literacy (in English), the importation of hundreds of American teachers, the dredging of harbors and the building of railroads, and an overhaul of government institutions. This was done with a tremendous sense of post-conflict responsibility by the United States: to promote the welfare of the Philippines. Certainly there were a variety of motives at war's end, but the scale and extent of the investment cannot be explained away by material interests—this was clearly an example of America not simply advancing commercial and strategic interests but trying to lift up a people burdened by centuries of peonage."

The conference was the biennial meeting of Christians in Political Science, which brings together social scientists and historians from faith-based and secular universities to share scholarship and fellowship.


U.S. Army TRADOC Band in Concert at Regent University

Standing in the front of the beautiful Regent University Chapel, Major Randy Bartel, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band (TRADOC), led his band in another great night of patriotism and music appreciation. The TRADOC Band from Fort Eustis traveled to celebrate Armed Forces Day with a free, open to the public, concert. Filling the Chapel with over 400 patrons, the band shared not only a talent for music, but also a love for country and community. Before the start of the concert the Chapel was buzzing with excited men and women as they gathered together once again to share in the evening's recognition of service, both past and present.

For the duration of the concert, the audience enjoyed patriotic American classics such as: Star Spangled Banner, Semper Fidelis, American Civil War Fantasy, Let Freedom Ring, National Emblem, Irish Tune from County Derry, Forged in Fire, Reveille, Mess Call, Attention, Retreat, Taps, American the Beautiful, and the Armed Forces Salute to close the program. The Band gave special attention to a retiring member, Staff Sergeant Miguel Davis, who treated the Regent audience with his last performance with the band.

One of the final pieces, the Armed Forces Salute, was a highlight of the night, asking both service members and their families to stand according to the anthem which represented their branch. Standing tall, Major Bartel snapped to attention, saluting as each group of men and women stood. The final two pieces, Stars and Stripes Forever and God Bless America, drew enthusiastic rounds of applause from the audience, bringing the night to a close. With many shared stories, smiles, and handshakes, Regent University and the U.S. Army TRADOC Band once again brought together members of the community in celebration of those who place their lives on the line for the cause of American liberty and freedom.


Robertson School of Government Celebrates 'Outstanding' Graduates at Commissioning Ceremony

The 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Mr. Joseph 'Chase' Bond for his strength of character to guide and influence those around him, portraying exemplary qualities of leadership. One example of his leadership qualities was during a national competition in which forty-eight universities competed through the Clinton Global Initiative, and Chase led the Regent team to fourth place overall. During his time at RSG, Chase also worked as a Research Assistant to Dean Eric Patterson, improving his skills in research and publishing. Chase Bond earned his MA in American Government, along with a Certificate in Terrorism and Homeland Defense, pursuing a career in national security and intelligence. Chase's recent accomplishments include completing an internship for the Director for the Center for Strategic Research at the National Defense University, and co-publishing an article in the National Defense University's Strategic Forum Journal.

The Robertson School of Government presented its Outstanding Service Award to Mrs. Sara Gainor. This award is presented to the individual who presents himself/herself in a Christ-like model of service towards fellow students and others. After graduating with a Bachelor's in International Studies from Virginia Tech, Sara came to RSG to continue this study path, earning her MA in Government with a focus on International Relations and certificates in Terrorism & Homeland Defense and Middle East Politics. During her time at RSG, Sara also served as President of the Regent University Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. Sara relocated to Atlanta, GA to be with her husband, Samuel, and is currently focusing her efforts on motherhood given the birth of her daughter, Madelyn, in April. While residing in Atlanta, Sara plans to focus not only on being a mom, but also serving on the programming committee for the Atlanta Council on International Relations, in hopes to further her career path in counter-terrorism.

One of the most important values taught in the Robertson School of Government is the benefit of research. That being said, RSG awards its graduate who has embodied a spirit of truth with exceptional research abilities with the Outstanding Research Award; and this year that award was presented to Mr. Joshua Nierle. Josh earned his MA in Government with a concentration in Middle East Politics. His future plans involve working in the non-profit and/or government sector and further pursuing with a Ph.D.

Mr. Daniel Bourgoine came to the Robertson School of Government to pursue his Master of Arts in Government, and brought not only his experiences serving in the U.S. Army but also scholastic dedication and excellence. Earning the Outstanding Scholarship Award means Daniel has completed his masters with the academic excellence of a 4.0 GPA. Daniel has completed his Masters in Government as well as Certificates in Law & Public Policy and Middle East Politics. He brings a unique set of experiences into the classroom having honorably served in the United States Army and is a retired Army officer, as well as a former business consultant. Daniel is currently a part-time high school teacher at Summit Christian Academy, using the knowledge from his graduate studies to bring about higher understandings within the walls of his own classroom.

Mr. David Dewhirst completed his Masters in Government online as he is currently residing in Washington state. Though unable to attend the Robertson School of Government Commissioning ceremony, he was anything but absent from the classroom. David brought scholastic excellence and diligence which has earned an exceptional 4.0 GPA and is another recipient of the Outstanding Scholarship Award. During his time at RSG, David studied for the Master of Arts with a concentration in American Government. David is currently serving as the litigation counsel for the Freedom Foundation, which is a non-profit think tank working to fight for freedom both at the state and local levels.

Mr. Paul Theroux honorably served his country in the United States Navy and is a retired Master Chief Petty Officer. Today he serves as a Navy civilian as the maintenance program manager for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Despite working full time, Paul made the decision to return to the classroom in pursuit of a Masters of Public Administration with a Concentration in Public Leadership and Management. He successfully completed his degree, having earned an impressive 4.0 GPA and as a result RSG recognizes his efforts by awarding him the Outstanding Scholarship Award.

Ms. Katherine Zasadny brought nothing but her best into the classroom and her efforts are rewarded with the final Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Robertson School of Government. Katherine now has her Master's in Public Administration. In light of her hard work and accomplishments she was also recognized with the Master of Public Administration Outstanding Graduate Award. Her experiences include political campaigns and volunteer work at local nonprofit organizations. Recently she completed internships at the 500-member Volunteer Hampton Roads and the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center. Katherine has also recently started her own business, all while completing her degree with the excellence of a 4.0 GPA.

The Robertson School of Government's MA Program recognizes Mr. Malcolm Fitschen for his impressive accomplishments while attending Regent University. The Outstanding Graduate Award is presented to the graduate who accomplishes not only his scholastic goals, but also sets a high standard of leadership, service, and research. Malcolm graduated from RSG with his Master of Arts in Government with a concentration in International Relations, as well as a certificate in Middle East Politics. Though he is currently employed in the Office of Alumni Relations at Regent University, Malcolm's long term goals include working in the field of international development. Walking away from the halls of RSG, Malcolm is proud to be a graduate and hopes to follow the tradition of distinguished public service careers as set by the graduates before him.


Upcoming Events

Dinner with General Ashcroft – September 28, 2016

Election Night Watch Party – November 8, 2016

Post-Election Panel Discussion – November 10, 2016


Back to top

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Newsletter Archives