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Regent University Newsletter in Virginia Beach, VA 23464

RSG Newsletter – March 2017

Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner

Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D.Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that Spring is upon us: we had snow the last day of Winter but my calendar says that graduation will be upon us in less than two months. But, the week of blustery weather was a milestone week for Regent University as we enrolled our 10,000th student to the university. You can imagine the enthusiasm and thanksgiving that is felt across the campus as our university, and our programs in the Robertson School of Government, continue to steadily grow and influence the next generation of Christian leaders who will change the world.

In this edition of our newsletter you learn about our guests, such as Carly Fiorina, and some of the faculty’s involvement with outside groups such as a religious freedom organization, the scholarly International Studies Association, and an event in coordination with military chaplains based on the Hollywood movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” We are also pleased to welcome into our classrooms this month Distinguished Professor, and RSG alumnus, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and former U.S. Congressman and Regent University Fellow Randy Forbes.

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.

Introducing Adjunct Professor LtCol J.R. Reiling

Image of J.R. Reiling with family

J.R. Reiling currently works as an adjunct professor at Regent University teaching American Foreign Policy at the Robertson School of Government. He is also a Doctoral Candidate at the

Graduate Program for International Studies at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

J.R. was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1964. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1986. He also holds a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs with a Middle East Specialty from the Naval Postgraduate School in California (1997) and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Valdosta State University (1989) in Georgia.

J.R. is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel with nearly 26 years’ experience serving as a Psychological Operations officer, including service in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Italy, and Guam. His final tour was as Course Director for the Joint Information Operations Planner’s Course, the four-week qualifying course for all DoD Joint Operational planners conducted at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia.

J.R. has been published in IO Sphere, National Security Studies Quarterly, and is author of the novel Ordinary Day.

J.R. is married to Pamela DiGennaro (R.N.) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They attend church at Saint Matthews in Virginia Beach, and their children Nathan and Grace are also enrolled at Saint Matthews School, where J.R. and Pam volunteer in roles such as library assistant and assistant coach for baseball.

“I love the wonderful student body diversity provided by the on-line program here at Regent. Having people from across the country and all walks of life enriches the learning experience for everyone, especially the instructor!”

Recent Events

Carly Fiorina Visits Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series

Photo courtesy of Alex Perry.

Carly Fiorina, business leader and former CEO of Hewlett Packard, recalls feeling “lucky” and “blessed” as an eight-year-old – but not necessarily as talented or equipped as the people around her seemed to be.

It wasn’t until the self-proclaimed “goody two-shoes middle child” took a Sunday school class with her mother that she began to see the possibility of her own potential.

“She said, ‘What you are is God’s gift to you; but what you make of yourself is your gift to God,’” said Fiorina.

Fiorina visited Regent University as a part of its Executive Leadership Series on Tuesday, February 28 at the Founders Inn and Spa. The monthly series celebrates renowned and influential leaders as they discuss the trends and principles of leading businesses.

Fiorina’s journey to success, admittedly, has not been smooth. She entered the career field with two items on her resume: philosophy major and law school drop-out. Without a clear understanding of what she was made for, she eventually landed a job as a “Kelly girl” for a nine-person real estate firm.

It wasn’t long before her peers at the firm discerned that she had a greater potential for more than typing, filing and answering the phones. Their encouragement set her on a clear trajectory.

Through this experience she encourages young people who are fresh in their careers to take a job – any job – and to do it well.

“Whether you’re filing papers or flipping burgers, someone will take notice,” said Fiorina.

She eventually pursued her MBA, and landed a job at AT&T as an entry level sales person in a male-dominated field.

“I went to work every day hoping I wouldn’t fail,” said Fiorina.

But through the ride her career has taken, which eventually landed her in Silicon Valley as the CEO of HP, as the first female leader of a Fortune 50 business, she’s learned one thing:

“Everyone is gifted by God,” said Fiorina. “And everyone has more potential than they realize.”

It’s through this that Fiorina developed what she believes are the true principles of leadership. First, that leaders – like her mother, and those who took notice of her in her entry level job – understand the potential of people all around them.

She said that “leadership” and “management” are not interchangeable terms, and that while managers deliver results within the constraints and conditions of an organization, it was a leader’s job to solve problems and “challenge the status quo.”

“But change is like heaven,” she said. “Everyone wants to go there, but nobody wants to die.”

This courage to challenge the status quo is why Fiorina believes that “people of faith make better leaders.” Traits such as humility, empathy, optimism and courage, found through many faith teachings, are essential to a leader, according to Fiorina.

Additionally, understanding that sometimes “the ends don’t justify the means,” possessing a sense of collaboration and seeing possibility are also imperative to not only a leader with character, but a leader who will change the world for the better. These leaders aren’t born. They’re made.

“Leadership is choice, and any of us can lead from exactly where we are,” said Fiorina. “Christian leadership is necessary to change the world. And the only thing that changes the world is leadership. Anyone can lead. So whether you’re young and starting out, or older like me…I would close by saying, ‘choose to lead.’”

The next Executive Leadership series event will feature William “Toby” Harris, co-founder, co-owner and executive vice president of Movement Mortgage on Wednesday, March 22.

Learn more about Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series.

Drs. Manjikian and Patterson speak at ISA’s 58th Annual Convention


Dr. Mary Manjikian and Dean Eric Patterson attended the International Studies Association annual conference in Baltimore, MD in March 2017. Dr. Manjikian delivered a paper on “Ethical Challenges in Emerging Technologies,” looking at how intelligence agencies can think about technologies which are still in their early stages, anticipating ethical challenges rather than reacting to them while they materialize. The ISA is the leading organization for academic international relations in the US and boasts over 5000 members from all over the world.

Dean Patterson spoke on two panels at ISA. The first was an event on the morality of victory, paralleling an event at Georgetown University a few days previously. The second was a critical discussion of the work of scholar James Turner Johnson, considered by many to be the preeminent just war historian alive today. Patterson, who co-edited the Ashgate Research Companion on Military Ethics with Johnson in 2015, spoke about Johnson’s influential thinking on state sovereignty and how it is linked to older, historical norms rooted in just war thinking about legitimate political authority. Following the panel, the ISA Ethics Section held a reception in honor of Dr. Johnson’s many years of outstanding scholarship.

Dr. Patterson travels to Middle East to attend Hardwired Global Training on Human Rights


We''re all hardwired for freedomHow can the trajectory of violence and chauvinism be turned in the Middle East? Clearly there are many factors at work but one obvious aspect for change is the way that issues of respect, human rights, and religious freedom are presented as children are growing up. To this end, Hardwired Global presented religious freedom training for educators from two Middle Eastern countries in February. Dean Patterson, as a member of Hardwired’s board of directors, attended the training and led a case study session on Galileo and the pressure he faced to change his views.

The president of Hardwired Global wrote this during the training, “We’re in the Middle East working with teachers to develop methodologies for teaching their students empathy. It’s the root of a society that’s not only diverse, not only tolerant, but peaceful and free. These teachers care deeply. Their students have been impacted by extremist ideologies and intolerant rhetoric. They live with the sting of hate. They didn’t ask for such a past; are they doomed to a future of more conflict? For these teachers, the answer is NO. They are equipping themselves to train the next generation for freedom. These teachers are everyday heroes.”

One of the educators was a teacher who has worked with Iraqi refugees in the refugee camps. “Every human who is living has the right to say whatever he wants, to express his ideas however he wants,” she declared, brown eyes flashing. Still, her brow furrowed as she fretted over how to convince her students of this fundamental right. “The difficulty is the presence of Daesh. As soon as Daesh entered, they forbade the children from formal education. They had their own education related to ISIS,” she said sadly, motioning with her hands to convey the use of guns and knives. “They have been radicalizing for two and a half years, and the children have been picking up extremist ideals.”

We worked with Amani for five days, rehearsing methodology for creating conceptual change. She pored over our manual and scribbled pages of notes. Amani’s country believes in her. The Iraq Ministry of Education has partnered with Hardwired to support her through one full year of developing and implementing lessons on Freedom of Religion or Belief in this critical time of rebuilding.


Dr. Patterson speaks at premiere of “Hacksaw Ridge” on the Topic of Moral Injury


Hacksaw Ridge Premiere
Photo Credit: Patterson is pictured with Chaplain Timothy Mallard, Lionsgate’s Steve Warnecke, and Providence Journal’s Marc Levicche.

Dean Patterson and RSG alumnus Steve Warnecke spoke at Ft. Belvoir at a screening of ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’ Patterson, an expert on just war thinking who has served in both the U.S. military and worked at the U.S. State Department, said, “The lead character’s father is a veteran of World War I, haunted by memories of trench warfare and embittered by survivor’s guilt. When thinking about moral and spiritual injury, one is reminded that during the medieval era there were ceremonies of absolution before and after battle that attempted to lift these burdens from the soldiers. Our communities lack rituals for sending and receiving warriors to and from battle as well as long term community-entrenched support structures for veterans. The days of VFW and American Legion posts providing those networks are a thing of the past, and have not been replaced.”

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is a film chronicling the voluntary military service of Desmond Doss during World War II starring Andrew Gibson, Hugo Weaving, and Vince Vaughn and directed by Mel Gibson. Despite being a conscientious objector as a Seventh Day Adventist, and despite having a deferment due to working at a military factory, Doss volunteered to serve as a medic but repeatedly ran afoul of authorities in Army boot camp that did not understand his stance and thus labeled him a coward. The movie chronicles this crisis caused by his faith as well as the heroism for which he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor: saving 75 men amidst the carnage of Hacksaw Ridge during the Okinawa campaign.

The event was part of a series on leadership, ethics, and resilience hosted by the Chaplains Office at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Audience members from across the Army, including chaplains, medical personnel, and traditional warfighters, had an opportunity to respond to the panelists with questions. Lionsgate, which distributed the film, sent Steve Warnecke who provided the film for this military screening and who could speak both about the actors involved and the experiences of the real-life Desmond Doss. Panelist Marc Levicche, editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy, responded to a question about war guilt by differentiating the Christian just war tradition’s notion of a soldier’s virtue, when fighting for justice, with the idea that the armed forces and law enforcement have “dirty hands” when using violence to protect the weak. Dean Patterson remarked, “There is no doubt that shocking things happen in war. But, C.S. Lewis reminded us of our responsibility to stop murderers and that we should not rob the young men, whom Lewis called, “the magnificent men in the [military] Services,” of that thing that accompanies courage. I think that thing is honor: the honor of protecting the vulnerable, punishing wrongdoers, righting past wrongs, and preventing future wrongs. That is an honorable profession.”

Dr. Patterson leads panel discussion at Georgetown on “The Morality of Victory”

RSG Dean Eric Patterson spoke on “The Morality of Victory” at an event he hosted on the campus of Georgetown University. Patterson, who is a research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs hosted scholars from the United Kingdom and U.S. in pre-launching a book by the same name.

The topic is critical because the moral and legal standards for the use of force have recently reclaimed a central position in international political debates, including former president Barack Obama’s open embrace of the language of just war tradition. But even as the moral grammar of war makes a popular comeback against the backdrop of crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, the notion of “victory” continues to remain problematic. This event was part of a major research initiative that is based at the University of Glasgow and engaged an international host of experts on the concept of “victory.” Scholars and practitioners reflected on the concept of victory as it relates to just war principles; the ethics of war; and the dynamics of norms, exit strategies, and endgames. They also reflected on tensions and concerns with the idea of “winning” wars in a complex and changing century. The forthcoming book is co-edited by Cian O’Driscoll, Andy Hom, and Kurt Mills.

Patterson’s contribution to the conversation, and the book, looks at the classic just war tradition’s emphasis on legitimate authority, just cause, and right intention. Patterson connects these to the war aims stated by political leaders, arguing in the tradition of Augustine and Aquinas that it is just to fight and win wars that are grounded in classical just war concepts such as promoting order and justice.

Upcoming Events

  • Christian Leadership Lunch Lecture with Congressman Randy Forbes – March 21, 2017
  • Executive Leadership Series Luncheon with Toby Harris, EVP of Movement Mortgage – March 22, 2017
  • Book Launch with RSG Alumna Chelsen Vicari – April 4, 2017
  • Book Launch with Professor Jeffry Morrison, Ph.D. and Dean Eric Patterson, Ph.D. – April 24, 2017
  • Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony – May 4, 2017
  • RSG Commissioning Service – May 5, 2017
  • Regent University Commencement – May 6, 2017
  • U.S. Army TRADOC Band Concert – May 25, 2017