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Adm. Vern Clark Teaches Government Class On Campus

By Amanda Morad | November 7, 2013

Dr. Eric Patterson presented an RSG 30th Anniversary Coin to Adm. Clark during class on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Among Regent University's distinguished professors is the well-beloved Adm. Vern Clark, USN (Ret.), who visits each semester to speak to students about leadership in and out of the military and government. This fall, he is co-teaching a class with Dr. Eric Patterson, dean of the Robertson School of Government (RSG), called Christian Foundations of Government.

"Having Admiral Clark in the classroom regularly teaching on leadership is the kind of thing that Regent graduate students experience, and it sets us apart from other universities," said Patterson. "There are two kinds of leaders—those who give energy to those they lead and those who drain them. It's clear with Admiral Clark that he infuses people with energy and momentum."

While Adm. Clark often teaches from afar, providing class content online, he spent class time on campus this October with RSG students.

"I love having the opportunity to share the classroom with people, young and more mature, who are on the grow," said Adm. Clark. "We live in a complex world, and being equipped to take on the challenges requires a commitment to life-long learning. That's the kind of people I meet at Regent."

At his latest on-campus lecture, Adm. Clark spoke on his leadership experiences as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

"I adopted a covenant model of leadership and taught the Navy about covenant," he said. While Christians are well familiar with the concept from the teachings of the Bible, Clark was able to apply it in a secular arena to outstanding and measurable results. "It fits so clearly with what the relationship between a leader and a subordinate should look like."

While Clark served as CNO, he encouraged his officers and "uppers" to offer those they lead a covenant of investment. "A covenant can be a promise or a contract," Clark said. "These men and women made a promise to a nation. What did [their leaders] promise in return?"

"I believe that a leader's calling is to invest in the lives of their subordinates so that they prosper," Clark said. With that mentality as CNO, in the first year, Clark broke all records in the Navy on retention rates.

The difference was covenant leadership, something all Regent students become familiar with in their studies. RSG students in the class recognized Adm. Clark's contribution to Regent's mission to train Christian leaders.

"Admiral Clark is truly inspirational and a man after God's heart," said student Juliana Melton. "He made me really excited and encouraged to be a leader and to serve people well as he shared his life and his heart for leadership."

Chris Meconnahey, an RSG student graduating in December, sat in on the class just to hear the distinguished professor speak. "I've heard Admiral Clark in other classes during my time here and it's always great," he reflected. "I think it's an incredible opportunity we've been given to have someone as high up in the military as Admiral Clark to come speak to us."

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

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