Regent Welcomes Five New Members to the
Prestigious Society of the Crown and Shield
Through an elite association known as The Society of the Crown and Shield, Regent University honored five generous benefactors who have given $1 million or more over their lifetime at an exclusive commissioning ceremony in April. As partners in Regent’s mission for several decades, the 2022 inductees have helped produce new generations of Christian leaders who are transforming cultures and nations for God’s glory.
Candidates for The Society of the Crown and Shield are confirmed each spring and inducted into membership at a special ceremony held in anticipation of Regent’s annual commencement weekend. This year’s event honored Cheryl McLeskey, Marvin “Buster” & Jeanie Orr, and Jack & Jane Shaw with a dinner and piano concert on April 22 in the beautiful lobby of Regent’s Communication & Performing Arts Center.
Regent’s Vice President for Advancement Chris Lambert welcomed more than 80 guests at this year’s commissioning event. Those in attendance included the inductees, along with families, friends, board of trustees, faculty, and staff. Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, Regent’s founder, chancellor and CEO, opened the event with prayer:
“Father, we thank you that we can gather together. Thank you for this lovely place. Thank you for the glory of God. Thank you for these dear people who are being honored tonight, and we pray that you will bless this meeting and everyone who’s here. May we sense the presence and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you now, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Regent began the tradition of The Society of the Crown and Shield in 2016. The celebration continues as a unique way to acknowledge and thank significant mission partners for their cherished friendship and incredible generosity to the university. Before the first inductee was introduced, Lambert shared:
“Scripture tells us, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Luke 12:34). Today, we honor benefactors who have chosen to place their treasure in the form of their time, talents and finances with Regent University. As co-laborers, these individuals have played an active role in shaping the history and future of Regent University.”
A longtime Regent University Board of Trustees member, Danny Sellers, introduced Cheryl McLeskey for induction, calling her “a lifelong friend of Regent University” who served as a board member from 2006 to 2013 and has generously supported the university and its students. “Her passion is serving the Lord through Christian leadership, and her love for Regent is born out of a belief that it is one of the leading universities in America that still believes and teaches our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage with a biblical worldview.”
After being the first inductee to receive the society’s distinguished Medal of Honor—cast in precious silver with the Regent crest at its center—McLeskey explained how her investment in the university became personal.
“I’ve gotten to know the heart and vision of Pat and Dede Robertson, which has made me love them,” said McLeskey. “Many great American universities started as Christian schools, and then went the way of the world. I’m so happy to invest in a university that for 45 years has stayed true to its founding principles of integrating faith and education so that we train a new generation of Christian leadership to change the world.”
Regent’s Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. William L. Hathaway, introduced the next inductees: Marvin “Buster” & Jeanie Orr. Hathaway spoke about the couple’s “legacy of love that spans nearly two-thirds of a century.” Married in June of 1956, the Orrs’ strong faith also has inspired a legacy of giving.
The humble couple’s love and support for Regent began in the late 1970s. In 2006, the couple started directly blessing students by establishing and funding The Marvin “Buster” and Jeanie Orr Endowed Scholarship. They also donated the beautiful stained-glass window behind the pulpit in Shaw Chapel to honor their late son-in-law.
After receiving their medallions, the Orrs made it clear that all glory and honor belong to Jesus. Buster and Jeanie insist they’re simply instruments for spreading God’s blessings to others.
“It means so much that we are part of such a wonderful ministry,” Jeanie told those in attendance. “It’s all the blessings of the Lord, and when He decides to bless you, you can’t stop Him. You just have to hold on and see what happens next.”
“The thing that kept inspiring us is we got letters from students after setting up a scholarship,” Buster explained. “Every year, we would get letters, and they would tell us how it had helped their lives to be able to get a good education and to grow a foundation that would help them improve themselves.”
Adding, “I pray that God will continue to bless all of us so we can do more for people who sometimes can’t do for themselves. He knows what you do. And He will bless you for your love and your gifts.”
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Phil Walker introduced the evening’s final inductees: Jack & Jane Shaw. Walker, who has known the Shaw family for half a century, said: “Regent University has been blessed by their friendship and generosity. The university’s center of worship, prayer and spiritual life bears their name: Shaw Chapel.”
Dr. Robertson calls the Shaws “dear friends” and remembers Jack’s father, Erby, as an “ardent supporter” of the school’s mission to train the next generation of Christian leaders to change the world. In addition to their significant contributions to strengthening and fortifying Regent’s future, the Shaws established the W.E. Erby and Mittie Shaw Divinity Endowed Scholarship in December of 2015 to honor Jack’s parents.
For more than four decades, the Shaws have played a pivotal role in Regent’s tremendous growth, global impact and ongoing success. In closing, Walker stated, “As humble and generous servants of Jesus Christ, they have chosen to bless our university over the years, not for publicity or recognition, but to inspire others to do the same.”
After their medal presentation, Jane shared, “What a blessing it is for the Lord to provide opportunities for us to help the causes He directs us to.” Then Jack added, “I want to say that Pat Robertson, in my life personally, and Regent University mean more to me than I can ever mean to you. I thank the Lord that, even at this time in my life, this university fulfills a longing I will have until Jesus calls me home. That is to see souls born into the Kingdom of God.”
Lambert closed the evening by telling the newest members of The Society of the Crown and Shield that he could “see Christ” in each of them. “You give humbly. You give with a cheerful spirit. It’s truly an honor,” he said. “It’s a joy to be in front of you, and I thank you for that.”
“This year’s five inductees have demonstrated an extraordinary passion and tremendous commitment to the vision of Regent University,” Robertson noted after the ceremony. “We chose to honor them for their sacrificial giving and for going above and beyond to equip Christian leaders to change the world.”