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Regent University Celebrates Nearly 2,300 Graduates in the Class of 2024

Regent University Celebrates Nearly 2,300 Graduates in the Class of 2024

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (May 4, 2024) – Today, nearly 2,300 graduates left the campus of Regent University as alumni—assigned to change the world for the glory of God.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
1 Peter 4:10

But before the crowd erupted into celebration or a single cap was tossed into the sky, signaling a new beginning, there were long hours, sleepless nights, missed meals, study sessions, projects, papers, tests, and the challenges of life to overcome.

Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024
Graduates in the Class of 2024

And now, loved ones are nearby to bear witness to the power of prayer. The mountaintop moment of these deserving Regent scholars has finally arrived. It’s Commencement Day. To God be the glory!

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

An anointing fell on the gathering in the outdoor plaza in front of Regent’s library, silencing chatter and ushering in a sense of reverence.

Loved ones, wielding camera phones, scurried to capture images that would preserve this moment for a lifetime.

The Hilton Brass filled the atmosphere with the regal processional melody of “Pomp and Circumstance” to welcome the degree candidates to this formal occasion. Donning caps, gowns, and other academic regalia, the students marched while examining the crowd in search of their loved ones. The university faculty and dignitaries closed out the procession and stood in front of their designated seats.

The Regent Singers brought the occasion to order with a masterful a cappella arrangement of the National Anthem.

As the last notes faded into the distance, Chancellor Gordon Robertson stepped to the mic and invited those in attendance to take their seats. His words of welcome consented to God’s presence over the ceremony, beckoning a peace signature to the heavens.

“I thank God for sitting in the driver’s seat of my academic journey at Regent University,” said Sharonda Ragland, Ph.D., a 2024 graduate of the School of Education. “God molded me into His desire. Through my family, church family, Regent professors, and friends, God carried me from the beginning to the end of my doctoral journey.”

As Chancellor Robertson continued to preside over the service, he began to reveal his heart and stress the importance of a person’s convictions, calling, and character. He went on to speak on the striking accomplishments of the ceremony’s keynote speaker, the Honorable Jason Miyares, Attorney General of Virginia.

“Since his inauguration in January 2022, Attorney General Miyares has focused on fighting violent crime, improving public safety, strengthening economic growth, and combating the deadly impact of opioids and fentanyl…He kept his promise to Virginians…He clearly brings an enriched treasure of knowledge that is sure to inspire our Regent Class of 2024.”

Attorney General Miyares greeted and thanked the Chancellor for his generous introduction. He then opened his speech with light humor but quickly transitioned to wise counsel and emphasized the unique impact that a Regent graduate can make on the future of our nation.

Chancellor Robertson called me and said, ‘Do you agree with free speech?’ I said, ‘Of course.’ He then said, ‘Congratulations! You’re giving one! Balancing the things that matter will apply to any profession, but to change the world, you must always preserve these pillars—faith, family, and friends…Proverbs tells us that without vision, the people perish….It is amazing what happens when the Lord gives you purpose and vision…A career is like a candle next to the sun, but your family will anchor you your whole life…Lastly, your friends can speak truth to you at the most important moments. A dear friend once told me, ‘Never let compliments go to your head—or insults go to your heart!’…Thank you, Regent University, for preserving the American miracle, and thank YOU for being the last best hope on earth. God bless you all.”

“My time at Regent Law has prepared me to use my legal career to stand boldly for truth in our culture,” said Caleb Pirc, J.D., a 2024 graduate of Regent University School of Law. “When I came to Regent, I knew the Lord was calling me to serve the people of my home state by advancing biblical values in the law. As I leave, I do so emboldened and equipped to walk out that calling with a community of fellow believers dedicated to standing together for truth.”

Provost William Hathaway thanked Attorney General Miyares for offering graduates such inspiring words and a formula for success. Provost Hathaway then recognized scholars from Honors and Joint Degree Programs before stepping aside momentarily to allow Daniel Luster, J.D., from Regent’s School of Law to offer poignant reflections summarizing the Regent experience for the class of 2024.

“What is Christian leadership? It almost certainly does not look like gaining as much power over others as we can. What I have seen here is that it looks a lot like quiet, disciplined humility. Perhaps it is more like waiting and preparing for a door to open than trying to pry it open ourselves. Like a million small acts of obedience to the Father who loves us. It looks like being present with the people and situations the Lord has given us.”

“The last two years have been full of adventures, blessings, and obstacles that I have navigated with the support of God, family, and friends. The journey has been nothing short of amazing and opened so many doors for me professionally,” said Danielle C. Jackson, a 2024 M. Ed. graduate of Regent School of Education. “I am looking forward to making a significant impact in the lives of our youth and continuing to grow with each of them.”

Provost Hathaway came back to the podium to celebrate Luster’s accomplishments and commend him on his energizing narrative. Hathaway then took to the mic to present one of the most esteemed honors of the day, the Chancellor’s Award.

“Dr. Bruce Winston’s invaluable contributions to Regent, his discipline, and to the Lord’s Kingdom over these many decades reflect his deep commitment to promoting leadership to change the world.”

As the audience applauded the achievement of the Chancellor Award recipient, Chairman Phil Walker came onto the stage to offer greetings on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

“Regent University continues to be recognized both regionally and nationally for its academic programs and achievements, especially as it relates to its mission of Christian Leadership to Change the World. You are about to join many other Regent alums who are already having a major impact in the areas of education, communication, law, government, healthcare, business, and of course full-time ministry.  Our Lord is now giving you a tremendous opportunity to change the lives of many as you fulfill His calling in taking the gospel to the marketplace.  You know you may encounter many challenges out there as you go and begin your career and your calling. But you can take assurance of what David wrote in the 121ST Psalm when he said, “I look unto the hills from whence my help comes. My help comes from the Lord.”

Chancellor Robertson then approached the mic for his commencement remarks. Known for his wisdom, wit, and direct approach, Robertson then amused and satisfied the spectators with a few epigrams that generated insightful reflection during his commencement message.

“Learn the lesson of Martha, who was busy serving, while Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. My father told me that few people will try to take the position of someone on their knees. However, it is a position that will determine every step of your life. As you go forward, set up your cross and bow to your knees before it. At the cross, you will not be able to see him and continue to live as you used to. You will be changed. Seek His face, and when you do so, you realize that God sees you! There is something profound about that when you truly realize He sees you. Hagar told us in his word that no matter what you are going through, He is the God that sees us. God sees you and understands what you are going through. When you look into the faces of the person on your left and right, know that you all look like God. You look like God. But then ask yourself, ‘Why aren’t you acting like God?’ Do more than just look like Him; act like him. I want to speak this word over you—our graduates. May the LORD bless and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. Amen!”

“Our mom’s journey has been inspiring one to watch,” said daughter Lauren of Delene Coates, M.Ed., a 2024 graduate of the School of Education. “Her dedication to learning and academic endeavors has made her children extremely proud. She has earned this, and we are excited to see her future successes.”

The Chancellor acknowledged the rising excitement level in the ceremony and recognized the splendor of his inaugural honor to present this year’s candidates for graduation. He then called on each dean to make their way to the podium to acknowledge their degree candidates.

At the prompting of Provost Hathaway, Chancellor Robertson then acknowledged that, according to Regent University, each of these scholars has completed all of their degree requirements and declared them graduates, assigned to change the world—offering a statement that made it near impossible for the crowd to contain its excitement.

“Congratulations graduates! You may now turn your tassels!”

I wanted my daughter Petra to attend Regent because of the quality of education and godly environment,” said Lorraine Bailor, a 2010 Divinity graduate and mother of a 2024 B.A. graduate of the School of Communication & the Arts. “As a pastor’s kid, the weight of going to a school where you constantly have to defend your faith can be challenging. It warmed my heart not just that she chose a college where I previously attended, but that she was at a place where she felt at home. I thank God for the legacy of Regent University.”

A fellow member of the class of 2024, Abigail Carolyn Phelps, took to the stage to sing the Regent Song, signaling to the student body that the culminating moment had almost arrived.

Dr. Claire Foster, Executive Vice President for Advancement & Enrollment at Regent and member of the class of 2024, congratulated her fellow graduates and then put an exclamation point on the ceremony with her favor-empowered request of the Lord.

“Heavenly Father, we bless these graduates. May your wisdom and your favor be upon them. Fill them with your Holy Spirit as they go forth to change the world for your Kingdom and your glory! In JESUS’ mighty name, AMEN!”

“This graduation ceremony is a significant milestone for the class of 2024. I am so proud of my wife, who completed a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership while simultaneously working, teaching, doing ministry, and raising five kids,” said Pastor Jimmy Foster, husband of Dr. Claire Foster. “Thank you, Regent, for honoring and celebrating the accomplishments of these inspiring graduates.”

And with the blessing of Chancellor Robertson, the boom of confetti cannons, and the hi-voltage energy of a championship sporting event, the 2024 class of conquerors were official graduates—clapping, crying, hugging, and high-fiving left and right—ready to reach the four corners of the earth with their skilled excellence and the gospel of Christ.

With compassion for the world, now more than ever, we are in need of servant leaders, qualified by the plan of God.

And so, their destiny in Christ takes shape.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.”  
Jude 1:24-25

About Regent University

Founded in 1977, Regent University is America’s premier Christian university, with more than 13,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 150 areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare, and psychology. Regent University has been ranked the #1 Best Accredited Online College in the United States (, 2020), the #1 Safest College Campus in Virginia (YourLocalSecurity, 2021), and the #1 Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia for 12 years in a row (U.S. News & World Report, 2024).