When Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson introduced this year’s outstanding alumnus during commencement, Regent’s founder, chancellor and CEO noted that it’s difficult to say who the best is, because there are so many excellent graduates of the university around the world. The recipient of the 2015 Alumnus of the Year award, U.S. Congressman Scott Rigell, representing Virginia’s second district, could not have agreed more.
“I am truly honored and grateful for this,” Rigell said. “I accept this award with true humility. I was genuinely surprised to have been selected, and I accept it on behalf of all the 20,000 graduates serving around the world.”
Before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, the 1990 graduate of Regent’s School of Business & Leadership (SBL) owned a highly successful automotive group in the Hampton Roads area and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. In a short time, Rigell became known as a lawmaker who’s not afraid to “reach across the aisle” for solutions to our nation’s problems. His top priorities are creating jobs, strengthening the U.S. military, controlling federal spending and changing Congress.
“I came to Regent for one reason,” Rigell explained to the Class of 2015. “I was having real difficulty reconciling what I heard on Sunday and what I was reading in the Bible with what was happening in the workplace.”
The third-term Republican lawmaker said that throughout his professional and public career, he has heard the phrases, “It’s just business,” and “It’s just politics,” used as a way to set aside our principles and our faith. But Rigell said Christians don’t need to operate the way the world does in order to succeed.
“I’m so grateful for what I learned at Regent about the value of servant leadership. That civility is not weakness. That we can love our neighbor and fight for our country. They are not mutually exclusive.”
Less than 24 hours earlier, Rigell displayed both his appreciation for Regent and love for his neighbor by donating $100,000 to fund an endowed scholarship at the School of Business & Leadership. The gift was presented at SBL’s commissioning service the night before commencement to honor Roger Orozco. Not only was the young man from Nicaragua soon to receive his MBA, but he also was being recognized as the school’s outstanding graduate.
“I was getting ready and was thinking about what a special and joyous day it was going to be,” Rigell told Impact. “I was also remembering the series of remarkable, far-beyond-coincidental events that led to that day with Roger graduating and receiving that distinction. I really just got a sense that we were supposed to endow a scholarship to honor him.”
“Scott Rigell plays a big role in my life,” Orozco explained in the November 2014 issue of Impact. “He brought me from an orphanage in Nicaragua to receive an education in the United States. I lived with his family for three years while I was attending undergraduate school. He invested so much time teaching me about family values and business.”
“Regardless of how little or how much he has, Roger is seeking to be a conduit of whatever he has so that it flows through him to the betterment of others,” Rigell said. “My first thought was that I didn’t want to give the gift in public. So I had to wrestle with that. But I was led to see it differently — to see it as the need to acknowledge Roger’s exceptional achievement. So we are taking what the Lord has blessed us with to endow an inspirational leadership scholarship.”
Dr. Doris Gomez, dean of SBL, said of Rigell: “He has a heart for people and carries with him the very principles we teach: servant leadership, business excellence, strategic thinking and innovation.” She added that the school was humbled by his generous gift: “It will allow us to provide scholarships to qualified students who would otherwise not be able to pursue their education at Regent. Additionally, it greatly encourages us to continue the very mission that God has called us to accomplish: to train Christian leaders to change the world.”
The congressman’s final words to graduates in his Alumnus of the Year acceptance speech are ones that he obviously lives by, and others would be wise to heed as well: “Cast a worthy vision and a bold vision. Believe that God is going to equip you along the way in whatever path He takes you.”
For additional information about Regent University’s School of Business & Leadership, visit regent.edu/sbl or