RSG Newsletter – September 2018
Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
With the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings behind us, I am left to wonder what the fallout will be for government in general. If you were an undecided college freshman, would you rush over to the Department of Government and sign up for the major after the caustic rhetoric that was flung about? Probably not. We at the Robertson School still think government, done right, is about service and goodness to our fellow citizens and human beings.
This month saw Florence lead to class cancellations for on-campus students for three days. Some students who lived in rental housing in low lying areas were required to evacuate and others (like me) chose to evacuate. Little did we know that only hours after the campus closing and heading out we would see a new forecast sending Florence straight into the Carolinas rather than near Virginia Beach.
While campus students were safe, online students were surely in the path of the storm in the Carolinas. We hope and pray that each of this newsletter’s readers has recovered or will soon finish that process if you were affected.
While the storm delayed some things, it did not stop the important celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of founding the university, nor the Constitution Day remembrances, nor the chance to have dinner with General and Mrs. Ashcroft. The General brilliantly articulated the need for liberty as the highest calling of society and as a form that derives from faith. May we not fall prey to the idea that democracy is the highest goal, since a run a way democracy can still keep people from being free. Thus, may we support liberty at home and abroad.
Interim Dean and Professor
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Regent University Celebrates 40 Years of Spiritual Vitality at Annual Founders Chapel
When reflecting on his 40-year journey, one that has led to a university of nearly 11,000 students and 150 disciplines, Regent University Founder, Chancellor, and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson has one word of advice:
“Despise not the day of small beginnings.”
Robertson shared the story of Regent’s own “small beginning” at the annual Founders Chapel on Wednesday, August 29. Students, faculty, and staff came together for a special time of worship and reflection just a few days into Fall Semester 2018.
Four decades ago, however, Regent was merely a whisper, a direct order from God spoken to Robertson as he sat down to a simple meal that has become a legend to those who’ve heard the story time and time again – a breakfast of cottage cheese and cantaloupe.
“I heard the Lord say, ‘Build a school for my glory,'” said Robertson.
And he did.
Four decades later, Regent stands with the largest enrollment in history; and it all began with 77 students and seven faculty members.
“Thing big! Don’t think small,” said Robertson. “We have a God who created the Universe, and with Him all things are possible. You are a part of an exciting adventure in education, in leadership and in the power of the Holy Spirit of God.”
Jolly ol’ England
“Never stop dreaming” is a quote Nathalie Jeter posted on her Facebook page. In fact, her dreams did come to fruition. Nathalie Jeter, (MA ‘04) has been accepted to the University of Oxford, St. Cross College. Jeter is pursuing an MPhil degree in Medieval and Modern Languages, with a focus in French.
Nathalie Jeter earned dual Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Journalism from Regent University. After graduating, Jeter served for seven years in the Robertson School of Government, as the Assistant to the Dean to Distinguished Professor, Dr. Charles Dunn, and former Interim Dean, Dr. Gary Roberts.
Step by Step
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This has been the motto of student, Jonathan Szish’s academic journey. Szish, a current student in the M.P.A. program, had been thinking for a decade of pursuing a graduate program. He began his coursework in fall 2017 and expects to graduate in spring 2019. He stumbled across the Christian Foundations of Government course on the web, which ultimately led him to Regent. Szish stated, “the course was a powerful idea and affordable; a unique experience, as an extension of my faith.”
His professional career consisted of a progression from one step to another. Szish earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, from the University of Pittsburgh, at Johnstown. After earning his undergraduate degree, he served with two newspapers, the Beaver County Times and Valley News Dispatch. Szish was assigned to cover schools, where he interviewed superintendents. He met Superintendent, Bill Kerr, who created the School and Community Relations Coordinator position. This role prepared him for his current employment. Szish presently serves, as the Executive Assistant/Board Secretary, with the Norwin School District.
His words of wisdom to fellow students is to “trust that God will really get you through the hard times.”
Regent students celebrated Constitution Day, September 17, with former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as he shared insights on “The Role of Federalism in the American Constitutional Structure.” Gov. McDonnell explained how the relationship between the states and the federal government has changed significantly over the years since the Constitution’s adoption leading to the federal government being seen as supreme and state power significantly declining. One student remarked “Governor McDonnell did an excellent job summarizing the struggles facing the American system of government and articulating solutions to those issues. By explaining the changes to American federalism, Governor McDonnell helped identify several policy areas that must be addressed if we want to repair the American system of government.”
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft Hosts Dinner for Robertson School of Government Students
Former U.S. Attorney General and Robertson School of Government (RSG) Distinguished Professor John Ashcroft and his wife Janet, hosted a barbeque dinner at their beach residence for students and faculty. This event illustrates one way that Regent University students benefit from gaining insight from General Ashcroft and building relationships with their professors. It is a great time for School of Government students to unwind and get to know each other better in the midst of a busy semester. One student commented, “The dinner with former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft at his residence in Virginia Beach was wonderful! The event allowed me to visit with professors and classmates out of the classroom as well as make new friends. It was a great pleasure to meet General Ashcroft, his lovely wife Janet, and their dog Gus! It is an even greater pleasure when a person of the General’s caliber not only opens his residence to students, but takes time to personally meet every guest and make everyone feel welcome. Being afforded the opportunity to have a group conversation on current events in a relaxed setting with not only the General, but many professors and others who have varied experiences in Government, was profound! My thanks to General Ashcroft for his hospitality.”
General Ashcroft, who is in his fourteenth year of teaching at Regent, and Dean Stephen Perry, served barbecue and dessert to faculty and students alike. The evening included current events-related discussion of government affairs. The General offered valuable insight to the students based on his time as governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General. The night concluded with numerous songs including Regent’s official school hymn, “Regent, Host of Faith and Learning” (text written by General Ashcroft). The lyrics remind Regent students that they are called to a lifetime of service as Christian leaders.
General Ashcroft teaches two classes at Regent, Case Studies in the Development and Implementation of National Legal Policy and Human Rights, Civil Liberties & National Security. Beyond his time in the classroom, he annually hosts up to ten events like the government dinner which allow him more time with students.
Dean Stephen Perry co-authored an article on conceptualizing peace and war in studies of peace journalism. It was accepted for publication in Media, War, and Conflict.
Practitioner-in-Residence, Sam Gaston, serves on the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Advisory Board on Graduate Education. At the recent conference, he served as a panelist discussing Managers as Faculty. Gaston also served as a panelist at the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SeCOPA) Conference on preparing MAP students for the future.
- Book Launch with Dr. Gary Roberts – October 9, 2018
- Defense Against the Dark Arts with RADM William McCarthy (USN, ret.) – November 13, 2018
- A. Willis Robertson Lecture on Virginia Politics with Gov. Bob McDonnell – December 4, 2018
- U.S. Army TRADOC Band Holiday Concert – December 11, 2018