In order to fulfill its mission to equip Christian leaders to change the world, Regent University must ensure students have access to exceptional professors and instructors in a wide array of disciplines. For example, the School of Law faculty are consistently ranked among the top 10 “Best Professors” in America by The Princeton Review.
In fact, so many Regent professors are so highly accomplished in their fields that Impact wants to introduce readers to as many of them as possible. Our recurring “Faculty Spotlight” will feature the men and women who help ensure that Regent remains one of the most influential, transformational Christian universities in the world.
Two of Regent’s newest faculty members have long and exemplary careers as public servants at the highest levels of local, state and federal government. The Honorable J. Randy Forbes, former U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 4th District, joined Regent as a University Fellow in January. Forbes served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2016 and will hold a multidisciplinary role with Regent, teaching graduate and undergraduate students.
A former senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, the Chesapeake, Virginia native also will help launch the university’s new cybersecurity institute. Regent Chancellor, Founder and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson has led the university’s strategic investment in the increasingly vital field of cybersecurity over the past few years.
Adding a national defense expert, who served as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, can only strengthen a bachelor’s degree program that began in 2016 and a master’s program that launched earlier this year. “Congressman Forbes is a longtime friend of Regent University,” Robertson says. “He is a respected and noted expert on national defense and security, and our students will benefit greatly from his experience and insights. We are thrilled to welcome home the founder and former chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus to join the Regent community.”
One of the country’s most forceful and accomplished advocates for faith, family, and freedom and for national security, during his time in Congress, Forbes will draw upon his considerable experience in the defense arena to support Regent’s cybersecurity institute and degree programs. “I am excited to assist Regent in their goal to become a nationally recognized strategic center and look forward to bringing some of the best minds in the country together to address the challenges of our nation,” he says.
“Adding Congressman Forbes to Regent’s faculty roster aligns well with our university’s strategic goals,” adds Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Regent’s executive vice president for academic affairs. “His many years of faithful and distinguished public service in the House of Representatives and our local community will be a tremendous asset as we collaborate on new initiatives to position Regent as a significant participant in the cybersecurity domain.”
Forbes began his career in private law practice and, prior to serving in Washington, D.C., was a member of Virginia’s General Assembly from 1989 to 2001. At Regent, he joins another former state legislator for the Old Dominion — one who served in the House of Delegates before becoming Attorney General, and then, the state’s chief executive.
Former Virginia Governor and Regent School of Law alumnus Robert F. “Bob” McDonnell (’89) began serving the university as a distinguished professor at the start of the current semester. McDonnell, who served as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth from 2010 to 2014, will teach in the School of Law and the Robertson School of Government, as well as the undergraduate capstone course in Christian leadership. He will also help establish a Governors Center for the Restoration of Federalism, which will be a forum for federal, state and local leaders to contribute ideas to generate a blueprint for restoring the constitutional federal-state balance in the American system of government.
“We are delighted to welcome Governor McDonnell back to Regent University,” Robertson explains. “As we train students to serve in government, law and other disciplines, Governor McDonnell will bring his extensive public service experience as an Army officer, prosecutor, state legislator, attorney general and governor.”
McDonnell was raised in northern Virginia and attended the University of Notre Dame on an Army ROTC scholarship. He served on active duty (five years) and in the Reserves (16 years) until retiring in 1997 as a lieutenant colonel. McDonnell also earned his MSBA in Business Administration from Boston University in 1980, while still on active duty. Two years after graduating from Regent with a law degree and a master’s degree in 1989, he launched his political career as a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates, representing the 84th District in Virginia Beach.
Moreno-Riaño expects McDonnell’s public and military experience to translate well into the classroom: “The Governor’s commitment to public service will extend to our students, as he serves them with excellence through teaching and sharing. We anticipate robust discussions around issues of leadership, governance and policy.”
The law and public policy alumnus served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2005, and to date, is the first and only Regent graduate to be elected governor, winning more votes than any candidate for governor in history in November 2009. He says teaching is something he often considered throughout his years of public service.
“During my painful journey through the justice system after I left the Governor’s office, I understood more deeply that politics and polls are much less important than people and policies,” McDonnell explains. “I’m eager to engage with Regent students and faculty in and out of the classroom, and I hope that my experiences can inspire others to consider careers in public service.”