RSG Newsletter

September 2014
Regent University Robertson School of Government Dean's Corner

Robertson School of Government

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

One thing that makes Regent University different is the regular access our students have to internationally acclaimed leaders. This month is rich in such exposure for our RSG students, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, past Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, and former Virginia Deputy Attorney General Patricia West.

Of course, text books and classroom learning are important, and we have a world-class faculty! But, it is also important to bring contrasting viewpoints from those who have served at the highest level into the classroom. Our students not only read about world-changers but ask them questions in person! That exposure and resulting inspiration is priceless. Who knows where each of these students will end up one day?

If you are looking for a graduate school or know someone who is, then consider RSG if you are serious about being challenged and prepared for public service. This is a place where you will have access to leaders who are changing the world.

Warm regards,

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean, 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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Faculty Story: Admiral Vern Clark, USN (Ret.) - Reflections of 9/11

Admiral Vern Clark USN (Ret.)

Admiral Vern Clark, USN (Ret.) recalls the events of 9/11. Photo by Alex Perry

It's a sober day for the entire nation, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but it is especially poignant for those whose lives were spared that day 13 years ago in downtown New York City and at the Pentagon. Admiral Vern Clark, USN (Ret.), is one of them. He recalled the events of the day at a commemorative chapel service at Regent University. Below is a condensed version of his comments.

"Isn't it amazing the difference 36 hours can make?" former President George W. Bush asked Clark on Sept. 12 as they assessed the situation. At the time, Clark was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and was in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into his Command Center. On Sept. 10, he and the President had both attended a ceremony celebrating the United States' friendship with Australia. It was a joyful occasion commemorating their ongoing partnership in war and in peace. The next day, America was attacked.

Clark recalled his first encounter with the President the next day soberly. "It was a no-nonsense visit; no happy talk," he said. "The President pointed his finger at each of us and said 'Don't forget what happened yesterday.' Then he made us a promise and said, 'I will never forget.'"

In the Pentagon alone, 184 men and women lost their lives; 42 of them were working in the Navy Command Center at the time of the attack. Recalling Congress singing "God Bless America" on the steps of the Capitol building the night of the attacks, Clark reminded chapelgoers of the unity Americans found in the days and weeks following 9/11.

"Our human condition sometimes causes us to forget," Clark said. "While we commemorate this day, I think it's important for us as believers to remember how God deals with us through events like this."

He reminded the audience that it's appropriate to feel angry toward sin, and positioned the concept of terrorism as a product of a life of sin. However, he also said it's appropriate to humbly pray for the lost as well as for those who suffer.

"As people of faith, we're not immune to suffering, but because we're people of faith, our response really matters," he explained, citing John 16:33. "Our peace is in Him and not in what's dominating Google News."

"His grace is where we're supposed to find solace and hope," he said. "It's where we show the world that our trust is in God. The world is watching to see how we respond on days like these."

Clark admitted that trying to explain the reasons for suffering and tragic events such as 9/11 is futile. "We don't know why God allows these things to happen, but the effect is real: He uses events like this to draw us closer to Him ... Our challenge is to remember and not forget."

From his early days as a lieutenant in command of a patrol gunboat to the halls of the Pentagon as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Clark has led by example. After a distinguished 37-year Navy career, Clark became the second longest serving CNO in history when he retired in 2005.

Today, Clark serves as distinguished professor in the Robertson School of Government. Clark teaches on topics such as national security, public management and leadership development. "I admire people who understand the call to commitment and their faith. I'm a teacher at heart, and I enjoy teaching in any environment, but teaching at Regent is special. Regent students have been inculcated with the challenge to develop as leaders and in their specialty area," shares Clark.

"That means every student at Regent is going through the growth and development process so they can make a difference. And I like being surrounded by people with a vision of their future and the dedication to follow their calling."

Student Story: RSG Student Leadership - Council of Graduate Students

The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) is a Regent University student organization that serves as a bridge between the graduate administration and students. During the school year, COGS also hosts several events designed to foster a united community at Regent. Three RSG students currently serve on the COGS leadership team.

Juliana Melton, President of COGS

Juliana Melton

Juliana Melton is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, where she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish. She is currently working on her M.A. in Government with a concentration in International Relations. In the future, she hopes to work in D.C. for a think tank that focuses on domestic and foreign policy.

Tao Tang, RSG Senator

Tao Tang

Tao is originally from Shenzhen, the largest Special Economic Zone in China. He completed his B.A. in Political Science from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and spent his junior year in Akita, Japan, to learn the country's history and politics as well as improve his Japanese. Tao is pursuing his M.A. in Government with a concentration in International Relations. He plans to work in D.C. with an international organization advancing democratization and religious freedom in China.

Nathanael Kreimeyer, RSG Senator

Nathanael Kreimeyer

Nathanael is originally from Chevy Chase, Maryland. He possesses a B.S. in Social Sciences and a M.A. in History from Liberty University. Nathanael is currently studying for an M.A. in Government with a concentration in American Government. After completing his studies at Regent, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history and hopes to teach at the college level.

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Alumni Story: David M. Rief, JD, M.A. '13 – Working in Municipal Government

David M. Rief '13

David M. Rief, JD, M.A. '13

A native of North Carolina, David Rief loves working in municipal law. As a joint-degree student, he graduated from Regent University with a Master of Arts in Government and a Juris Doctorate in Law.

"At Regent, I found a joint-degree program that was a perfect fit. With an additional year of online classes, I was able to earn both an M.A. and a JD degree. This combination provided me with a deeper understanding of the interplay between law and politics, increased my credibility, and helped me secure a successful career while making a difference in the lives of my neighbors and surrounding communities," says Rief.

Rief began his education as an online RSG student while working full-time as a municipal planner. "I wanted a joint-degree in public administration and law and also the flexibility to take most of my government classes online while I continued to work. Regent not only provided the perfect combination, but also did so in a way that supported and enhanced my religious beliefs," says Rief.

While at Regent, Rief took advantage of several opportunities available to students. "Although I was an online student, I did take the time to come to Virginia Beach for the dinners with former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which I highly recommend." While at RSG, Rief admits his favorite class, Constitutional Law with Professor James Davids, also provided the most challenge. "Professor Davids had high expectations but encouraged me in a way that extracted my potential."

Rief now works as a municipal attorney providing legal advice to elected officials and city staff on a regular basis. Rief says, "I think our clients appreciate the fact that I have also earned an M.A. in Government. As part of that work, I am able to demonstrate and share my faith with those who make and enforce our laws."

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Recent Events

Eagle Scouts Visit Regent

Dr. Eric Patterson (center) stands with Eagle Scouts of Boy Scout Troop 165. Incoming Regent freshman Benjamin Prevost stands second from left.

On the day other Regent University freshmen were moving into residence halls last week, incoming student Benjamin Prevost was cycling from South Boston to Lawrenceville, Virginia, with members of Boy Scout Troop 165.

On Friday, Aug. 15, Prevost and his troop mates rolled onto the Regent campus for a ceremony marking the final day of a 3,800 mile odyssey that took them from the surf at Stinson Beach, California, to the King Neptune statue at the Virginia Beach boardwalk.

Recalling the natural diversity the Scouts encountered on their journey—from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, to the Great Plains, to Appalachia—Prevost shared with several dozen family and friends who came to Virginia Beach to welcome the boys home.

"There is no doubt in my mind that God is the author and creator of this great land. He actively provided for us, calmed every worry and gave us the strength to make it through each day," he said. "There was no possibility of avoiding risk on this trip. God's providence is the reason we all stand here on the final day."

Eagle Scouts Cycling Across America 2014, as the journey was identified, was two years in the making for this Fredericksburg, Virginia, troop with a long history of cycling trips, including a 2,000-mile excursion to celebrate the Boy Scout centennial in 2010.

About a dozen Eagle Scouts made the cross-country trek this summer to live out their mission statement: "to demonstrate how motivated young men, committed to the values of exercise and healthy living, practice the twelve points of the Boy Scout Law while challenging themselves to reach new heights."

Their trip began in early June, and during 63 days on the road, the Scouts, their scoutmaster and support team traveled through eight states, riding in honor of other Scouts, making new friends, enduring hardships and learning valuable lessons.

"You've learned one of life's most important lessons: making a commitment and following through and doing the work. This will stay with you throughout your life," said Dr. Eric Patterson, dean of the Robertson School of Government, who spoke at the ceremony.

Patterson also noted the core values of the Boy Scout oath, which they recited at the start of the ceremony, are the same values that the Regent community holds dear.

The ceremony on the steps of Regent's Performing Arts Center also included representatives from the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Chesapeake School Board member Sam Boone read a mayoral proclamation and awarded certificates of accomplishment to the young men. Boone is a Virginia State Police officer who also escorted the cyclists on the ride to campus.

Dr. Robert Dyer, assistant professor in the Robertson School of Government and a member of Virginia Beach City Council, gave an invocation at the ceremony. Dyer was instrumental in helping the Scouts secure an oceanfront venue for a final event and also connected them with Virginia Beach Police to assist with the cycling route through the busy resort city.

Virginia Beach City Councilman John Moss, dressed in his Boy Scout uniform, read a City Council resolution.

"You are the first group where I've been able to wear my Scout uniform and combine my love of Scouting with my council duties," Moss remarked.

Prevost, who is enrolled in Regent's College of Arts & Sciences, also thanked his family, his scoutmaster and his teammates for their support during the trip.

"We cannot express the bond that we all now share. It can never be explained in words, but every mile is a memory."

2014 American Political Science Association Conference

0 The annual meeting of the American Political Science Association brought 6,000 political science and government professors from around the world to Washington, D.C., for a multi-day conference over the Labor Day weekend. RSG Dean Eric Patterson attended the conference with two RSG faculty members who provided presentations.

Dr. Ionut Popescu organized a panel and presented a research paper, "Revisiting the Bush Doctrine(s): America's Evolving Grand Strategic Framework After 9/11," which reexamined some of the scholarly misconceptions about George W. Bush's grand strategy. During the "questions and answers" section of the panel, Popescu discussed the similarities and differences between Bush's global leadership strategy and the Obama administration's recent policies in places such as Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine.

Dr. Jeffry Morrison participated in a roundtable-style panel discussion sponsored by the related group, Christians in Political Science. Panelists were invited to give their reflections on the challenges of higher education in Christian and secular institutions. Besides Regent, other panelists represented Baylor University, Claremont McKenna College, George Fox University and the U.S. Air Force Academy.


In the recently published second edition of Abortion, Execution, and the Consequences of Taking Life (Transaction Pub., 2014), RSG author and Professor James D. Slack guides the reader through an in-depth examination of policy toward life and death in the United States. Examining human life from the perspective of Imago Dei—the idea of being made in God's image—Slack argues that the taking of human life is the termination of the image of God. Intended to remind citizens and governments of their obligations to determine moral truth, this volume uses theocentric phenomenology to focus on the intimate consequences of death policy. Alternatives are explored as ways to encourage policies that affirm life.

Using a methodology of direct observation and qualitative open-ended conversations, Slack interviewed 81 people about abortion and its alternatives, the death penalty and its alternatives, and justice in society. This second edition is completely revised, placing greater emphasis on the thoughts of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and it includes a new chapter.

Order your copy.

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Upcoming Events

Supreme Court Justice Scalia Classroom Appearance and Banquet
September 16, 2014

Executive Leadership Luncheon: Governor Mike Huckabee
September 19, 2014

Senator A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics with Judge Patricia West
September 23, 2014

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