Happy New Year! One of my great delights is welcoming new students to campus and, due to our significant growth, I have met many new students from across the country this month.
RSG is seeing growth in our new on-campus student cohort and 70% growth in online students. The students literally come from across the world. One representative of this is Brooke Hollingsworth, who you will meet in this newsletter. Being from a Navy family, Brooke considers herself a Texan but lived abroad in Portugal and Japan as a child. Brooke is the kind of millennial citizen that we can all be proud of: smart, humble, culturally sensitive, diligent, and cheerful. She chose to earn an MPA degree so that she can work at the intersection of non-profit and government, helping others.
In the past year we have had several Regent alumni elected to office in the U.S. and abroad. One such is Chuck Slemp (MA/JD, ’10) who was recently elected as Commonwealth Attorney for Wise County, Virginia. Like many alumni, Mr. Slemp has made extra efforts to assist RSG students in the past.
As the new year begins, our team sincerely wishes that your calling will be realized in 2016.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
Robertson School of Government
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Faculty Story: CSIS Dr. Bonicelli
In December, Dr. Bonicelli met with leading public and private sector experts in Washington, DC, to discuss the illegal narcotics trade and international development. The off-the-record meeting was held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where Dr. Bonicelli serves as a Senior Advisor. Dr. Bonicelli opened the session, which was attended by officials from the Departments of State and Homeland Security, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and offered insights from his service in the George W. Bush administration. The ensuing discussion focused on the current state of the international drug trade, how the U.S. is engaging on this issue, and what more can be done to dismantle drug production, hinder distribution networks, and prevent other crimes associated with the drug trade.
Student Story: Brooke Hollingsworth (’16)
Though she has traveled around the world, lived in multiple nations and cultures, her passions are what brought Brooke Hollingsworth to the Robertson School of Government (RSG). Brooke is the daughter of a retired Navy Captain, and as a child her family moved from place to place, including Japan and Portugal. Nonetheless, Brooke still considers herself a Texan. Brooke’s long terms goals are to enter the non-profit sector, helping church or other nonprofit organization’s staff members develop organizationally and plant new churches. Brooke is pursuing an MPA in Nonprofit and Faith-based Organizations, and she will graduate this upcoming May.
When Brooke talks to new students she shares how she came to RSG in the first place. Brooke came to RSG after graduating from nearby Christopher Newport University (CNU). Though she had no previous intention of doing so, Brooke watched as her life took an unexpected turn, and even graduated as a member of the President’s Leadership Program and the Honors Program at CNU. Following the advice of both her parents and a trusted professor at Christopher Newport, Brooke explored the possibilities of attending graduate school, ultimately choosing to come to RSG. She was excited to see the faith-based options that Regent offers, as well as embracing the opportunity to return closer to her church family at First Baptist Church of Norfolk.
Upon deciding to go to graduate school, Brooke wanted to embrace a program that would offer not just the preparations needed to push forth in today’s workforce, but also the shared expertise and faith-based resources that the faculty could provide. As she pursues the challenges of learning fundraising, budgeting, and human resource management, Brooke also appreciates the spiritual growth and guidance she receives from the RSG faculty. Not only does RSG have a focused faith-based learning, but with the teachings at RSG, Brooke has been able to further her understanding of leadership. Brooke had carefully studied leadership during her time at CNU, and through her studies, Brooke has seen and experienced the application of Regent’s “Christian Leadership to Change the World” teachings. Brooke has seen for herself how the positive aspects of leadership can be traced back to the principles found within Scripture and she described leadership as, “serving those around you to help them realize and reach their full calling and potential, it means living with integrity and honoring God with your actions, even when you think no one is watching. It means honoring the dignity of all persons, even those who do not believe or think as you do, because they are created by God in His image.”
Thinking over her time at both the Robertson School of Government and CNU, Brooke relates a terrible incident that almost stopped her education. Toward the end of her first semester at RSG, Brooke was involved in a near-fatal vehicle collision after being rear-ended at a high speed. She was blanketed by God’s protection and provision with the following months of recovery, and due to the compassionate understanding of both staff and faculty, Brooke will graduate on time. She is thankful to God, family, and her Regent family for supporting her through the challenges of her graduate school tenure.
Alumni Story: Chuck Slemp (’10)
Chuck Slemp (’10), a graduate of Regent University with dual degrees from the Robertson School of Government and the School of Law, was recently elected as Commonwealth Attorney for Wise County, Virginia. After a hard-fought campaign, Slemp was elected on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 with over 57% of the vote and takes office on January 1st.
Slemp grew up on a farm in Wise County in a family with a long history of involvement in politics, which he says instilled in him a sense of responsibility to serve and help others from an early age. After receiving his undergraduate degree in business administration, he came to Regent University where he completed a master’s degree in law & public policy and a juris doctorate from the schools of Government and Law. In 2010, Slemp was awarded Outstanding Graduate for the Robertson School of Government. Reflecting on his time at Regent, Slemp said: “My wife and I are blessed to be part of the Regent University family. We both worked and studied at Regent and we loved our time at the university. Regent brought us into close contact with others who desire to serve their communities and change the world for the better. Not only did we earn a world class education there, but we made lifelong friends that still strengthen our faith and family and serve as lasting examples of servant leadership.” Some of Slemp’s biggest supporters during the campaign were friends from the Regent community.
After completing his degrees from Regent and further post-graduate study in Oxford, England, Slemp decided to return to Southwestern Virginia to start his own law firm serving clients in local government, criminal defense, and domestic relations practice areas. The area juvenile abuse and neglect has been one of Slemp’s passions, and during this time, he served as Guardian ad Litem for abused and neglected children and was also appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve as a citizen member of the Commission on Youth in Virginia. Slemp hasn’t hesitated to emphasize his commitment to protect children from abuse and neglect during his term as Commonwealth Attorney. Apart from his work in private legal practice, Slemp has also served in multiple local government positions, and currently serves as Attorney for the town of Pennington Gap and as Commissioner of Accounts and General Receiver for Wise County and Norton city.
Throughout his campaign, Slemp focused on five major commitments: to protect children from abuse and neglect; to work closely with local law enforcement, to value the needs of victims of crime; to fight drugs and substance abuse; and to protect senior citizens. Having grown up in Wise County, Chuck is honored to have received such overwhelming support and now hopes to serve its communities through working hard, treating people right, and fulfilling these commitments when he takes office.
Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series Features Steve Wisniewski
NFL player, coach and author, Steve Wisniewski, believes that life is a series of lessons learned. He shared a few of those lessons on Monday, Dec. 7, at Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series luncheon, bringing one of few leadership perspectives from the world of sports to Regent. Because to him, the greatest leadership examples he’s encountered have come from three coaches he’s worked alongside in the all-American game he loves so much.
“I’ve learned that good leaders don’t just talk a good game – but they’re great leaders by how they live their lives, and how they handle themselves in victories and defeats,” Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski explained that because of spending time with coaches such as Joe Paterno, Penn State; Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan; and Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s become a better person.
“Would someone say that they’re a better person for having spent time with you?” asked Wisniewski. “If we thought about that, we can be people who cast a better shadow of influence to those around us.”
Paterno’s influence over his life at Penn State taught Wisniewski to “pursue his purpose with passion.” Wisniewski shared the life and character of the late-coach and his triumph in the industry, despite setbacks and discouragement from his father.
“He was never happier than when he was on the football field. He was tough but kind, harsh but fair,” said Wisniewski. “He loved his players, but he pushed them.”
Wisniewski said many people make mistakes in leadership by failing to serve others first. Where many would pursue glamorous jobs in the limelight, Paterno served as an assistant coach for 16 years before becoming head coach – a full career in the realm of sports.
Harbaugh taught Wisniewski that competition brings out the best in everyone. At the University of Stanford, Harbaugh’s no-apologies attitude is what drove his success and his team. His passion for helping his players and staff members, no matter how large or small the task, was what refined Wisniewski’s appreciation for mentorship.
“There was nothing that he couldn’t do. He was a phenomenal servant leader,” said Wisniewski. “People are willing to follow servant leaders.”
When he was with the Oakland Raiders, Gruden created a mentality that was his team versus the rest of the world. Wisniewksi learned to be passionate and find “the juice” of his pursuits, entailing the lifelong student of his craft.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Wisniewski.
During his own career as a coach, he made an effort to focus on his players as individuals, creating a space for personal relationships with each of them. In his own life, he’s learned that his best memories aren’t from full-on victories on the football field, but from games where his team was down 20 points and had to work their way back.
“It isn’t always about how you start,” said Wisniewski. “What matters is how you finish.”
New Student Orientation – January 6, 2016
Chad Connelly – Political Leadership for Today – January 21, 2016
Dinner with John Ashcroft – February 3, 2016