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The Robertson School of Government, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA 23464.

RSG Newsletter – December 2019

Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner

Dear Friends,

It’s the year 2020. In just six short years, the United States of America will be 250 years old. Over the Christmas holidays, I had the privilege of seeing the Broadway musical hit show Hamilton as it played in Norfolk. Much has been written about that musical, of course, but a few things stood out to me.

The first was a reflection of the incident a couple of years ago when members of the cast took a moment after one performance to call down the attending Vice President, Mike Pence, from the stage because of their disagreements with him. After seeing the play, it was impressed on me how important it was to compromise and work through differences in the founding of America. How ironic that members of the cast still thought demonizing the Vice President was something that was appropriate. If you’ve seen the show, perhaps the irony was not lost on you either.

And as you can guess, a clear point is to avoid taking disagreements to the extent of a dual. While we don’t take pistols and shoot from ten paces today, perhaps some are just much less gentlemanly or ladylike. Shouting people out of restaurants or taking a gun where defenseless people can be shot en masse, simply because we don’t like their race, religion, nationality, politics, or whatever, certainly suggests a less civilized society than even one that allows duals.

Third, I was impressed with the contrast between Alexander Hamilton’s portrayed propensity to speak his mind on his personal ideals and Aaron Burr’s propensity to keep his true feelings close to the vest and to switch positions when it fit with the political winds. We actually need both kinds of people. We need those who fearlessly stand for ideals, but if everyone did that, we’d get nowhere politically. So, we need others who are more practical. Maybe, in fact, we have too many Alexander Hamilton “wannabe” types today, and that is responsible for our political stalemate in Washington. But of course, no one wants to be remembered as an Aaron Burr.

Speaking of different political philosophies, Dr. Mary Manjikian’s video blog, “Findings: Presidential Authority”, would be a good watch here.

Blessings for a prosperous 2020 – and if you haven’t seen it yet, find an opportunity to get to a performance of Hamilton this year.


Stephen D. Perry, Ph.D.

Interim Dean and Professor

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More from the RSG blog

Featured Story

Regent University Recognized for Top Degree Programs on for 2020

Regent University has been awarded top ranking status for multiple degree programs by Regent University was listed amongst hundreds of other competing institutions across the nation. The student-focused comprehensive research guide is based on an assessment of 1,604 accredited colleges and universities. Each program is evaluated based on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment.

The 2020 rankings are calculated through a unique scoring system which includes student engagement, potential return on investment, and leading third-party evaluations. analyzed hundreds of schools with comparable programs on a scale of 0 to 100, with Regent University making it to the final list for 20 Degree Programs. The methodology uses an algorithm that collects and analyzes multiple rankings into one score to easily compare each university’s degree program.

The Robertson School of Government’s Emergency Management program has been recognized as a top-ranking program, and awarded for Best Alumni Network. You can view the complete ranking here. provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs.

Recent Events

Regent University Faculty Team Awarded First Place in the 2019 WorldQuest Competition: Faculty Division

On November 21, 2019, The Robertson School of Government, in conjunction with the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads, formed a team of eight students to participate in the annual WorldQuest Knowledge Competition. RADM Larry Baucom, president and past board member of the World Affairs Council, served as our team coach and hosted our team at the competition. Team members with a competitive spirit, enthusiasm, and knowledge of current international events competed against other area university students.

Also participating was a faculty team of six, led by Adm. Baucom. The Regent University faculty team won first place for the faculty division of the competition, beating out the undefeated Old Dominion University Graduate Program in International Studies (GPIS) faculty team.

Great job to the RSG student team for your hard work and effort in the competition, and congratulations to the Regent University faculty team for your great victory!

A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics with Dr. Jeffry Morrison

Religious Liberty: A Virginia Invention

On November 11, 2019, The Robertson School of Government proudly welcomed Dr. Jeffry Morrison as this year’s guest lecturer who spoke on “Religious Liberty: A Virginia Invention”. Dr. Morrison currently serves as Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University and Director of Academics at the federal government’s James Madison Foundation.

Dr. Morrison graduated with distinction from Boston College and from Georgetown University where he earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in Government. He has held faculty positions at Princeton University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Georgetown University, and Regent University’s Robertson School of Government.

Dr. Morrison is an accomplished author, has lectured throughout the United States and in England, and has made media appearances on radio, in journalism, and on television.

The event, which honors the legacy of Senator A. Willis Robertson’s more than forty years of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia, took place in the Robertson Hall Moot Courtroom followed by lunch in the RH Lobby.

Student Highlight

Abigail Zarzar Internship Interview

At the recent Providence conference on national security, Dr. Nolte caught up with RSG student Abigail Zarzar, and they discussed Abigail’s recent internship in the Middle East. Abigail discusses her passion for reconciliation; what it’s like to be an online student in RSG; and the incredible value she has found in the way faith and learning are integrated at Regent. You can view the full interview here.

Faculty Updates

Recently, Visiting Adjunct Assistant Professor, Joshua Hastey, presented a paper on the national security implications of Arctic ice melt at the International Studies Association Midwest conference in Saint Louis, Missouri. A version of this paper is also currently under review at the journal International Relations. Professor Hastey will also be discussing a paper at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference in Chicago this coming spring about Grey Zone conflicts in international relations theory.

Robertson School of Government’s Dr. Eric Patterson has recently had two reviews of his latest book Just American Wars. Just American Wars continues to receive rave reviews, including this one from just war historian James Turner Johnson and one from Providence magazine editor Mark Melton. A podcast featuring Dr. Patterson discussing the book is available here.

The book focuses on the moral challenges leaders face in the actual give-and-take of foreign policy and national security decision-making. For instance, the chapter on the War of 1812 asks on what criteria, and at what point of “last resort,” should Congress have declared war on Britain. In examining the Vietnam War, Patterson examines the national interest and personal interest motivations of leaders in going to war, and continuing the war, in Vietnam. As James Turner Johnson writes in his review, “The result is not only a book about America’s wars; it is also a book about the ongoing moral effect of just war tradition on American values and behavior.”

Melton rightly concludes that this is not just a book about history, but that is relevant for today’s decision-makers: “[Patterson] has a keen appreciation for the stress real people endure while making critical decisions about war—whether they are working past midnight in the Pentagon, White House, Foggy Bottom, Langley, or the Hill, or they are literally in the trenches beside those fighting and dying.”