Robertson School of Government Dean’s Corner
It is with joy that we look forward to the 2019-2020 academic year in the Robertson School of Government, and it is my privilege to be asked to stay on as Interim Dean for another year. What a thrill to work with the fine, accomplished faculty along with our eager students in the Robertson School.
We are looking forward to our best enrollment yet this fall. While we still have a few weeks go to before the start of fall semester, and some students will still be enrolling for our mid-October start in our MA and MPA degrees, we can already see that our enrollments in the Robertson School of Government are strongly increased from fall 2018 at this time.
I had a chance to speak with many of our new students who began this summer. Many were so eager and thrilled to be beginning this chapter in their lives. It is a great reminder for me, who has worked in Higher Education for 24 years, of the fact most students who join us are beginning something totally new for them. I look back to my first days as a graduate student and remember my wide eyes and just trying to ask enough questions to know what was going on hour by hour. That’s how many of our new students will be this fall. But we know they will succeed as they buckle down to their studies and ask lots of questions.
Regent University as a whole is also in an exciting place as you read in our article about the university’s commencement ceremonies from this May. The University is a nationally acclaimed center of learning by many indices noted at the end of that article. And our trajectory is upward. But beyond those indices, we know that God also has standards that he measures us by. Regent University has, and will continue, to measure itself based on how well we educate our students to fulfill their calling in light of God’s standards.
The Robertson School’s trajectory is also upward in both academic and faith perspectives. We received great response to a survey about offering a terminal degree in the future, so we will be proposing a move in that direction very soon.
As our faculty make advances in scholarship about just war theory, cybersecurity policy, Middle East affairs, civil service in developing nations, and servant leadership, we will continue to view each scholarly endeavor from a Christian perspective. Through this, we will advance knowledge that can be imparted to our students to help them become Christian leaders to change the world.
Stephen D. Perry, Ph.D.
Interim Dean and Professor
For more details as well as our calendar of events, please see our website.
Regent University’s Largest Graduating Class Commissioned at 2019 Commencement
A sentimental 20-something College of Arts & Sciences graduate poses for a final selfie with her college roommates. “Say, ‘Pizza rolls and chocolate!’” they tease, in homage to the late-night menu that got them through finals.
A School of Law graduate embraces his wife through tears of joy. “This is our degree,” he insists.
A 32-year-old bachelor’s in management grad high-fives his young son: “You’re next, buddy!” Reflecting on his “juggle” as a full-time worker-husband-father, plus student, he confirms: “It’s all been worth it to get to this day, this example for my family.”
These are the faces of Regent University’s 2019 graduates: Women and men of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds who faithfully put their hand to the plow to accomplish their dream of adding “Regent University Graduate” to their story – and to look ahead to new possibilities.
Regent’s 39th Commencement, held on Saturday, May 11, 2019, conferred nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees – the largest in the university’s history – on its campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Faces bright, in spite of overcast skies, graduates proudly took their place on the university’s Library Plaza to enjoy their well-earned moment of honor.
Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson welcomed the audience, recognizing parents and spouses of graduates as quiet heroes. “You are special,” he told them, acknowledging their investment of time, finance and
teamwork to see academic dreams fulfilled.
Speaking to graduates and the strong legacy of alumni before them, he emphasized Regent’s calling to equip Christian leaders to change the world, confirming, “Guess what? We’re doing it!”
Chairman of Regent’s Board of Trustees Phil Walker took the stage next to commend the graduates for their hard work. Referencing Philippians 1:6, he encouraged them to embrace their roles as future leaders of communities, states and nations, being confident that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”
Dr. Ken Eldred, entrepreneur and investor, delivered the ceremony’s commencement address. Eldred is the founder and CEO of Living Stones Foundation, providing financial and strategic resources to projects that lead to self-sustaining kingdom-building ministries. Eldred’s entrepreneurial and venture investment success – including an internet business-to-business company valued as high as $40 billion – has been recognized by Forbes and by Silicon Valley.
Eldred recalled his early success at a Fortune 500 company. At age 27, he was put in charge of his company’s whole marketing team, acquiring all the responsibility and all the perks of this prestigious position. “What came next really rocked me,” said Eldred. Lying in bed the night of his promotion, Eldred’s mind raced for hours as he worked through every rung of the ladder he planned to climb until he finally reached the top. Then, in the quiet, this question weighted him: “Is that all there is to life? Is that it?”
What if he missed “it” because he failed to recognize his true purpose? What if he climbed the wrong ladder … on the wrong building … without the right foundation?
Eldred went on to share that only 10% of Christians know their life’s purpose, and far fewer follow it. “God has a purpose for you,” he said to the class of 2019. “Ephesians 2:10 tells us that ‘we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works …’”
He laid out three points:
- Each of us has a special purpose. We must figure out our assignment and do it.
- The price of carrying out God’s plan will involve fear. We’ll be tempted to see our purpose as impossible, foolish, and dangerous, but we must choose faith and courage that God will see us through.
- If you won’t do your assignment, someone else will. We are uniquely gifted and called, but if God has to go to a “Plan B,” He will.
Eldred challenged graduates to take time to search out their calling and write down their mission statement. “Take the diploma you received today for a job well done. Add to it the understanding of your purpose, and step into it. Then the Lord will make your life not just good, but truly great.”
Continuing with a challenge of faith, Robertson then charged the 2019 class to “open your mouth wide” that God may fill it, referring to Psalm 81. He encouraged the class to be bold in embracing their future and to honor the Lord with the magnitude of their requests.
“There are thousands who will tell you that you can’t do these things. Don’t listen to them. Open your mouth wide. Don’t be timid. Be bold! … With God, all things are possible” he said. “Dream big. Have big plans. That’s my charge to you.”
Lauren Dennis, for the College of Arts & Sciences, delivered the student response to the charge from the chancellor. She urged her class to operate in boldness but to recognize “a different kind of greatness” … that of service, identifying themselves with Jesus, the greatest servant of all.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano presented the 2019 Chancellor’s Award to Associate Professor Gloria Whittico from the School of Law. Each year the award is presented to a faculty member who exemplifies a profound commitment to Regent and its mission.
School of Communication & the Arts alumnus Bruce Long ’01 was also honored as Alumnus of the Year. Long has produced on Broadway, off-Broadway and on London’s West End.
His affiliated productions have garnered four Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards, in addition to multiple nominations. Long is the founder of The Repertoire Fund, a $100M commercial theatre investment collective. His wife, Michelle, is also a Regent alumnus.
“When I came to Regent, life had kind of clipped my wings,” he said. “In hindsight, I see that Regent wasn’t so much a restoration project, but rather a new-construction project.” As a student, he learned to marry faith and art, theology an
d theatre, so that he could care for a “degenerative global culture.”
“At the intersection of faith and art, the Triune God is forming artists of faith charged with the regenerative work of global culture care. And I believe that the epicenter of this intersection is Regent University,” said Long.
He urged graduates to tap into that care by contemplating three powerful words: Silence, Beauty, and Improvisation. Silence to transition the mind, restore the voice and strengthen the entrance; beauty through truth, love, grace and forgiveness that breathe life into the soul; and improvisation to turn their tassels and then go “off script,” ready to say, “yes, and” to the unexpected, because of their confident partnership with God.
“And in all of that, walk humbly in your calling, and change the world,” Long concluded.
Following the special remarks, graduates were commissioned from Regent’s School of Business & Leadership, School of Communication & the Arts, School of Divinity, School of Education, Robertson School of Government, School of Law, School of Psychology & Counseling, College of Healthcare Sciences & School of Nursing, and College of Arts & Sciences.
Finally, came the words the graduates were waiting for: “Graduates, you may now flip your tassels!” And with that, a sea of green, blue and silver confetti burst from cannons, cheers and high-fives erupted, and a new chapter began for Regent University’s Class of 2019.
Regent University boasts more than 130 areas of study, delivered online and on campus to associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students from all 50 states and spanning 90 countries. In its 40-year history, Regent has graduated nearly 27,000 men and women representing 135 countries. Regent is listed among top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, 2019. The institution is among only 4% of U.S. universities to receive NSA designation, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. The School of Psychology & Counseling has received a 100% match rate for fourth-year Psy.D. student internships since 2016 and is one of only 24 universities nationally to receive an “A” rating for its comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum.
Alumnus Excels in Municipal Financial Leadership
Jeffrey Yates, a 2001 graduate of the Master of Public Administration Program, has led a stellar career in financial management. Yates currently serves, as the Executive Director of Administrative Services/CFO, in Union County, North Carolina. Since serving in his current capacity in Union County, the tax rate was reduced and the county’s double A rating increased to triple A.
Prior to his current role, Yates became the Director of Finance for the City of Dunedin, Florida. He oversaw the Departments of Finance, Information Technology, in addition to working with the Accounts Division, Treasury, IT Infrastructure, Utility Billing, Budget and Capital Planning and Development Finance. Earlier in his career, Jeffrey Yates worked as the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance in Kansas City, Missouri, from September 2008 – January 2010. Prior positions included the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Fiscal Policy and Strategic Planning in the City of Lubbock, Texas. Although, Yates served as the CFO from November 2004 – September 2008, he held the Director of Fiscal Policy and Strategic Planning position for a 10-month stint simultaneously.
Originally, Yates taught at a private school in Georgia. He wanted to initially attend a Christian law school offering law and public policy and juris doctorate programs. Yates ended up selecting the MPA program within the Robertson School of Government.
Yates encourages the RSG alumni and matriculated students to remain “humble hungry and smart in everyday life.”
Overcoming Barriers to Find a New Home
Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sabrina Estrella, has overcome many barriers such as moving to a new country, learning a new language, and earning her U.S. citizenship all through hard work and dedication.
As a U.S. citizen, Sabrina was able to join the U.S. Navy and now lives by the Navy credo of Honor, Courage and Commitment, which she applies to every area of her life including her family, studies, and future career plans.
Sabrina earned her undergraduate degree through Regent’s 4+1 BA/MA in Government program with an emphasis in International Relations and Foreign Policy. She graduated with her BA this past May and is currently pursuing an MA degree in Homeland Security Studies with a Cybersecurity emphasis. Her goal is to graduate in May 2020.
Through her time as an undergraduate student, Sabrina was faithful and active in the graduate student events, participating in a War Game Simulation set in today’s Afghanistan where teams represented NATO, the Afghan Government, and faith-based NGOs trying to implement security and reconstruction efforts in an uncertain environment and also served as a team member in the WorldQuest Competition sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Hampton Roads.
Sabrina believes that, “Regent has become a home away from home providing not only a superior education but also an education based on my Christian faith that I could not have received at other colleges or universities.”
Congratulations to the Graduates of the Robertson School of Government
The faculty and staff of the Robertson School of Government are proud of the Graduating Class of 2019! You have worked hard and accomplished a great deal during your time at Regent University. Many of our students were recognized for their achievements including Anna Bryan for Outstanding Leadership, Bob Brown for Outstanding Service, Brian Leppert for Outstanding Research, Tony Riley as the Outstanding MA Student, Jonathan Szish as the Outstanding MPA Student, as well as thirteen who achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA, Cordell Asbenson, Anna Bryan, Katie Buckley, Dixie Cline, Jason Delaneuville, Patrick Gragan, Catherine Jessberger, Timothy Johnson, Andrew Killion, Brian Leppert, Jonathan Szish, Brent Thornton, and Kenneth Wolf. We wish you all the best and look forward to great successes whether you choose a career path or to continue your education.
Regent Offers Counseling, Services to Families Affected by Mass Shooting
Regent faculty are helping bring critical relief to victims’ families and first responders following a mass shooting on Friday, May 31, 2019, at the Municipal Center that left 12 dead and several injured — one of the deadliest in the country this year.
“It’s just an overwhelming amount of grief,” said Dr. Daniel Holland, assistant professor with Regent’s School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC), who answered the city’s initial call for counselors to aid families being notified of the loss of their loved ones.
“As counselors, that’s what we do,” he said. “We jump in the trenches with hurting people, and we walk with them.”
Within hours of the initial response, Holland enlisted the help of his colleague, Dr. Mark Newmeyer, associate professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling, and together they began working with the Virginia Beach Department of Occupational Health and the Virginia Beach Crisis Department of the Department of Human Services to mobilize help from members of the mental health community — including Regent SPC alumni.
That help has run the gamut from joining 130 other counselors at the Virginia Beach Convention Center to provide support to nearly 6,300 city employees, to conducting debriefs with law enforcement officers and even coaching families on how to share the news with their children.
“Whatever needs to be done, we’re just jumping in and doing it,” Holland added.
It’s a boots on the ground mentality that speaks to the very heart and mission of the School of Psychology & Counseling and Regent University’s mandate at large to demonstrate innovative, Christian leadership that is changing the world.
“We’re training professional counselors, psychologists, and people in human services to provide psychological services and apply those in various ways to meet people’s needs,” said Dr. William Hathaway, SPC dean.
That kind of training has helped facilitate significant responses to previous crises including 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, the Haiti earthquake and war-related trauma in Ukraine.
And now in the university’s own backyard.
“There are so many things we don’t understand about this situation,” Holland said. “But coming together, relying on each other, and trusting in God’s character even when we don’t know His hand. … These families are going to be able to work through it, recover, and with support — do it in a healthy way.”
“The community is grieving with those who have been directly impacted,” Hathaway added. “They are not going through this alone. We’re going to stand and walk through this with them.”
Professor Eric Patterson gave the commencement address at the Ft. Worth branch of the Community College of the Air Force. Patterson, who serves as a unit commander in the Texas Air National Guard, spoke to 40 graduates and their families on a quote by leadership expert Max DePree: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, a leader becomes a debtor and a servant.” Patterson learned the quote from former RSG distinguished professor, Admiral Vern Clark, who routinely used DePree’s book, Leadership is an Art, for students in RSG’s cornerstone class, Christian Foundations of Government.
Patterson emphasized, “Leaders define reality. That means that they come to terms with the realities – good and bad – of the past so that they best understand the present. Leaders are alert about the present and they help envision a preferred future, a shared future reality that is better for everyone and to which all can contribute.”
The Community College of the Air Force is an accredited institution that provides associate’s degrees for military personnel. Among the recipients were a range of enlisted personnel, from young airmen to enlisted personnel with twenty-years of experience. Patterson has served as an officer in the California and Texas Air National Guards since 1996 and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Nolte for being recognized twice as an exceptional faculty member. During the Commissioning Ceremony for the Robertson School of Government, Dr. Nolte received the Faculty Member of the Year Award for his achievements in teaching and innovation in the classroom. At a recent Faculty and Staff meeting, Dr. Nolte was presented with the Spring 2019 Faculty Excellence Award in the area of Teaching. This was one of the awards where faculty members are recognized for their commitment and diligence in the areas of scholarship, teaching and service.
The Robertson School of Government (RSG) wishes to thank Dr. Eric Patterson for his faithful service and commitment to Regent University and the Robertson School of Government. During the recent RSG Commissioning Ceremony, the faculty and staff presented Dr. Patterson with a print of Robertson Hall in recognition of serving as the school’s dean for seven years. During his tenure as dean, RSG has seen tremendous growth and success with achievements such as the launch of the MPA program and increased student enrollment just to name a few. While Dr. Patterson has stepped back from the Dean’s position, we are thankful he continues to serve as a Scholar-at-Large for RSG while also serving as the Executive Vice President for the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington, D.C.