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Regent University Newsletter in Virginia Beach, VA 23464

RSG Newsletter – February 2018

Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner

Dear Friends, Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.

This month we focus on issues of national security, from the realm of cyber-warfare to just war thinking to student engagement with the Hampton Roads World Affairs Council.

RSG’s faculty is uniquely experienced in these areas, from flag officers teaching as adjunct faculty to former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who serves as Distinguished Professor of Law and Government. Furthermore, you’ll read below about events on cybersecurity policy and military ethics led by Associate Dean Mary Manjikian (a former U.S. diplomat) and Dean Eric Patterson.

This intersection of scholarship with real-world experience characterizes the Robertson School of Government, and thus reflects the lifetime of service of Senator A. Willis Robertson, for whom we are named. If you have students or friends looking for a next step in national security studies, cybersecurity policy, homeland security and emergency management, or related fields, please direct them to us here at the Robertson School of Government.


Warm regards,

Eric Patterson, Ph.D.

Dean and Professor

Learn about RSG

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.

Alumni Story: Remembering Clayton Ricker (MA ’07 / JD ’12)

John Clayton Ricker (Clayton), 44, passed away at home on January 14, 2018 of complications from cancer, surrounded by family and friends. Clayton was born on March 9, 1973, at North Kansas City Hospital, the son of John and Charlene (Blackburn) Ricker. Except for a brief period in St. Charles, MO, Clayton spent his entire childhood in Liberty on Arthur Street. Clayton graduated from Liberty High School in 1991 and received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1995. He later received both a Master’s in Government and Juris Doctorate from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. At Regent, he held a number of executive positions, including Assistant Dean and Director of Enrollment of Regent’s Robertson School of Government. Since November 2014, he has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kansas City, most recently as a Compliance Investigator.

While at Mizzou and participating in Campus Crusade for Christ, Clayton met the love of his life, Kathleen (Sliger) Ricker, whom he married on September 6, 1997. They went on to raise a busy family with three boys, James Colson (13), Charles Henry (9), and John Christopher (7). A son, Connor Joseph, preceded his father in death.

Clayton was a wonderful husband and father, enjoying an active life of ballgames, home school activities, and musical events with his wife and boys. Throughout his life, he was an avid Royals and Chiefs fan, was passionate about politics and current events, and maintained deep friendships. Above all, Clayton was a man of faith, active in his church and supporting numerous ministries. He took special comfort in Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Clayton is survived by his devoted wife, Kathleen Ricker; father and mother, John and Charlene Ricker of Liberty, MO; his sister and brother-in-law, Amy (Ricker) and Michael Brink of Liberty, MO (Lillian, Abigail, and Caroline); his father-in-law and mother-in-law, James and Janet Sliger of St. Peters, MO; brother-in-law and sister-in law, Eric and Holly Sliger of Foristell, MO (Emma, Austin); sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Amy (Sliger) and Ramy Hanna of Houston, TX (Bradley, Lauren, Lila).

In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted for the Ricker children education fund. Checks may be made out to Katie Ricker and mailed to Kansas City Church, 7700 N Church Road, Kansas City, MO 64158, or online at

Visitation will begin at 2:00 pm, followed by a service celebrating Clayton’s life at 4:00 pm, on Saturday, January 20, at Kansas City Church (address above). Private burial in Fairview-New Hope Cemetery, Liberty. You may read Clayton’s entire obituary under “upcoming services” at Arrangements: Park Lawn Northland Chapel (816) 781-8228.


Recent Events

Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series Presents: A Conversation with Brian Kilmeade

Brian Kilmeade Television personality and author Brian Kilmeade knows that if at first you don’t succeed, you’re not a failure.

“If you don’t learn from failure along the way, you’re never going to grow,” said Kilmeade.

To the outside world, Kilmeade has it made. He’s the co-host of Fox & Friends, as well as the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, The Brian Kilmeade Show.

Of his five published books, three have landed a spot on the New York Times best-seller list.

But Kilmeade’s story isn’t a Promised Land of overnight success. It’s a story of grit, of losing, and of try, trying again.

“I’m lucky now, but I want to tell you the journey I’ve been through,” Kilmeade told the Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series audience on Friday, January 26. “I feel lucky every single day. I don’t even consider what I do work.”

From getting benched on the soccer field while simultaneously holding dreams of going pro, to losing all of his possessions in a house-fire – barring his least-favorite outfit he was wearing on his back – every step of Kilmeade’s journey is riddled with remembering his humble beginnings.

Much like the humble beginnings of a new nation hoping to expand westward beyond the Mississippi River during the War of 1812.

Kilmeade’s latest book, co-written with Don Yaeger, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle that Shaped America’s Destiny,” released in October 2017. It explores the fateful battle commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, which drew a decisive victory line in the sand for American soldiers, and drew British troops out of Louisiana.

Kilmeade explained that American soldiers had a nearly impossible task ahead of them. But Jackson’s leadership was “loved, feared and revered.” And a man who was born into poverty, with failures to his name, became the most famous man in America and completed a two-term presidency.

“Don’t judge your failures,” said Kilmeade. “Judge your results.”

Learn more about Regent’s Executive Leadership Series.



Dr. Eric Patterson speaks at Reformed Theological Seminary on Christian Just War Theory

Dean Patterson

Can the Christian kill? Is serving in the military or police a virtuous calling or are these “lesser evil” occupations? Dean Eric Patterson taught on these topics in a short course for Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Washington, DC.

Dean Patterson has written numerous books on just war thinking such as Ending Wars Well, Ethics Beyond War’s End, and Just War Thinking. He just finished a new book that looks at specific ethical issues in American wars, from the justness of fighting the American War for Independence to the morality of presidential war aims during the Vietnam era.

The RTS short course was co-sponsored by Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. Providence editor, Marc Livecche, Ph.D. was one of the speakers, focusing on the just war criteria and issues of moral injury. The third course speaker was Keith Pavlischek, Ph.D., whose experience runs from a doctorate in religious ethics to time served as a U.S. Marine Corps colonel to time in the intelligence community.

The conference began with the assumption that questions about the morality of war are nothing new for Christian citizens, although new threats are on the horizon. For instance, the recent rise of non-state actors and new terrorist challenges adds to the complexity of such moral concerns. In the face of external security threats, what is the statesman’s responsibility to act in the interest of peace? Is the use of force by political authorities a “necessary” or “lesser” evil, or is it an exercise of virtuous principle? What theological ideas should guide policymakers overseeing and military leaders engaging in armed conflict? The course discussed the just war tradition and key just war objectives of order, justice, and peace. It also traced the divergent theological roots of pacifism.

Patterson reflected, “This was a very interesting course. It was fun to work with my friends and fellow scholars, Dr. Pavlischek and Dr. Livecche, but the class was also very stimulating. Only in Washington, DC, or on our campus at Regent, would you have students ranging from military chaplains to people working in the intelligence community to a flag officer. All of these were present and engaged in the course. It is heartening to see Christians taking seriously their callings to service promoting order and justice in the pursuit of peace.”

General John Ashcroft Hosts Dinner with RSG Students

John Ashcroft, Distinguished Professor of Law and Government, hosted students from RSG at his residence for an evening of dinner and conversation about the current state of political discourse in the U.S. Regent University Fellow (and former U.S. Congressman) Randy Forbes and RSG faculty, RADM Larry Baucom (USN, ret.) and RADM Bill McCarthy (USN, ret.), were also present at the event.

General Ashcroft, former U.S. Attorney General, U.S. senator, as well as former Missouri governor, attorney general, and state auditor, is now serving in his thirteenth year as a distinguished professor at Regent University.

General Ashcroft teaches a graduate seminar each fall entitled, Case Studies in the Development and Implementation of National Legal Policy as well as another in the spring entitled, Human Rights, Civil Liberties & National Security, both of which are open to law and government students.

In light of his background, Ashcroft is uniquely qualified to impart to Regent students who are seeking careers in public service. His commitment to Regent is evident in his teaching as well as in his time with students in less formal settings.

Each semester, General Ashcroft, Dean Patterson, and the faculty mingle with students and their spouses at such a dinner. The evening is a chance for students to relax a bit but also connect to Regent history and tradition. General Ashcroft wrote the lyrics to the official Regent University song: “Regent, Host of Faith and Learning.” As a part of these evenings, students and faculty invariably sing the school song. The lyrics remind Regent students that they are called to a lifetime of service as Christian leaders.

One student who came to Regent from a prominent state university noted, “I really was amazed at the opportunity to ask General Ashcroft questions about politics and leadership. He gave insightful analysis without ever demeaning others, even those with whom he disagrees on policy. It made me think more about how to have strong convictions and yet be winsome in arguments.”


Great Decisions 2018

The World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads is proud to host Great Decisions, a program developed by the Foreign Policy Association that provides the local community with a unique opportunity to learn about issues of global importance in an engaging and interactive format. Lectures are delivered by well-respected experts in the foreign policy field. Great Decisions begins in January and runs for eight consecutive Saturday mornings at nearby Norfolk Academy. Additional information and registration is available through the World Affairs Council of Great Hampton Roads website.

RSG Professional-in-Residence, RADM Baucom (USN, ret.) serves on the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council and is excited to have students from Regent University attend events. Sabrina Estrella commented, “The event allowed me to gain extra-curricular knowledge on subjects pertaining to current politics. Information was shared that was not exposed in any other literature or on the News, which gave me invaluable insight. I highly recommend our students and colleagues to attend the Great Decisions Symposium as it delivers a comprehensive insight from the speaker’s perspective.”


Dr. Manjikian launches her new book, Cybersecurity Ethics: An Introduction

Dr. Manjikian

Cybersecurity Ethics On Tuesday, February 13, Dr. Mary Manjikian officially presented her newly published textbook Cybersecurity Ethics: An Introduction (Routledge, 2017). In her talk, she asked the students to consider what ethics are, and why we need ethics when we already have religion and law to guide us in making moral judgments. Much of her talk focused on the fact that the internet is a global utility, and therefore regulatory structures need to be globally accepted. However, as she pointed out, moral reasoning often arises out of a specific culture, and cultures can differ in terms of how they think about issues like privacy, surveillance, the role of government and minority rights. Thus, she suggested, certain tools or models can be applied to help solve ethical issues which arise in cyberspace. As a result, we hope that nations and groups can cooperate to make cyberspace a more peaceful and predictable environment.

Upcoming Events