Shortly after commencement ended, six newly minted alumni were asked to speak at a special Chancellor’s Luncheon inside The Founders Inn. Kayla Babitz, who had earned her master’s degree from the Robertson School of Government just minutes earlier, was the first “outstanding graduate” to share about her Regent experience.
“These past three years at Regent have shaped my character in ways I could not have imagined,” she said. “My goal in attending Regent was to learn how to study government without becoming dismayed or discouraged like so many of the people I knew back home.
In addition to being on the university’s moot court team, a Life Group Leader and involved in Campus Ministries, Babitz also helped lead the new Regent Royals cheerleading squad to a second-place finish at its first-ever national competition this year.
“Regent introduced me to a community of believers who pursued government with the same passion they’d give the work of the mission field or the pulpit,” she explained. “We’ve learned at an institution that exalts Christ as the center of our study; and at this center, our eyes find focus.”
Captain Shane Ferrell of the United States Army received his doctorate from the School of Psychology & Counseling. But he didn’t graduate alone, his wife Michelle also received her Ph.D. In fact, they met, fell in love and got married while attending Regent.
“The story of what brought me to Regent is one of God’s faithfulness,” Ferrell said. “God’s plan throughout the [doctoral] program for me was one that I could never have guessed.
“During my time at Regent, God stretched and challenged me to lean on Him,
and not my own understanding.” – Kelly Whelan
Ferrell confessed that he applied to Regent after losing a bet. But he had a peace in his heart about being accepted into the School of Psychology & Counseling — a full year before submitting his application.
“God is good,” Ferrell says. “He has placed me in a position where my full trust is on Him. He has directed us. So, I have no other reason to believe that it will not be anything other than the amazing life it has been so far.”
Kelly Whelan endured a tremendous loss while pursuing her Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree at Regent. During the course of her studies, her father and oldest son died. The wife of an Army combat veteran, Whelan’s Regent journey began with two years left on her husband’s G.I. Bill.
“I was compelled to research programs and schools,” she explained. “I wasn’t necessarily looking to attend a Christian university, but I kept being drawn in by the story of our founder Dr. Robertson, his vision to start a university, and a call to train students to represent Christ.”
But answering the call to earn her doctorate at Regent was, at times, “overwhelmingly painful” for Whelan. Still, she walked through challenges and made sacrifices on
the way to becoming the person that the Lord created her to be.
“During my time at Regent, God stretched and challenged me to lean on Him, and not my own understanding,” Whelan shared with the luncheon crowd. “Regent University’s call for Christian leaders to change the world is a call to rise and build the Kingdom. And rise is what I will continue to do.”
Captain Bruce Carson of the U.S. Navy graduated from Regent with degrees in both law and government. He has orders to be the foreign area officer stationed in Indonesia. But his first order of business at the Chancellor’s Luncheon was to thank his wife for “enduring” with him as he completed two degrees in two years.
Carson also thanked another family member, his late grandfather: “I live in this moment to live up to the legacy that he created. When he took me to church in the backwoods of West Virginia, he sparked that drive of Christ within me. So, I’m here because of that.”
Originally, Carson enrolled at Regent to earn a law degree, but the Army wanted him to do something completely different. “The Army said we don’t need any more lawyers. We need you to get an international degree.” he explained.
So, after spending the next year in California, learning to speak Indonesian, he’ll spend another year as a foreign exchange Army officer in Malaysia. Then he’ll go to Indonesia and work as a military attaché to the U.S. ambassador there. “I will go forward,” he insisted. “I will be that Christian leader to change the world!”
Gloria Dandridge is from the South Side of Chicago. She’s one of only 10 students from her high school to go to college, and the only one to attend law school. “My high school class started with 300 students,” she remembered. “By the time I graduated, we were 100 students.”
Even though Dandridge dreamed about becoming an attorney since she was nine years old, the journey to earning a law degree wouldn’t be an easy one. “I walked away from God right after I graduated high school,” she said. “I went away to college … but it only lasted one semester. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be.”
Dandridge shared that she went through a long season of searching. But on February 12, 2010, God called her back to Him. “I answered with a yes,” she said. “Looking back, I realize that my dream of becoming an attorney was always in God’s plan for my life.”
Dandridge will head to Uganda soon to use her law degree to serve the people there. “I’ll be working with the director of public prosecutions on things like child sacrifice and land grabbing,” she explained. “When I return from Uganda, I plan on going back to Chicago. I want to serve the community.”
Edward Moses graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Film-Television and was the recipient of Regent’s Chancellor’s Scholarship. Just three years ago, he was at his computer, staring at the university’s website.
“Not long ago, while I was in India,” Moses explained, “I was sitting in my house like a potato with no hope, with no way, surrounded by mountains of impossibilities [and] filled with fears and anxieties about my future. … But all through that time, there was this little bit of flame that was burning in my heart.”
Moses admitted that he faced some difficult, even embarrassing, times at Regent due to cultural differences. “But all through that time God was with me,” he insisted. “God used his people here to encourage me, to speak life into me and even to give me a hug. God has been faithful.”
Moses added: “I have seen God move mountains in my life. I have seen God split oceans in front of my eyes. I have seen God opening the floodgates of heaven and pouring out His unmerited favor and His goodness into my life. And I’m totally convinced that if this God starts something in someone’s life, He is faithful, and He is able to complete it.”