To Make a Difference

May 6, 2019 0 comments

Regent Alum Takes Reins of Leadership for Best Coastal Community on the Atlantic

In the late 1990s, Bobby Dyer (SBL ’01) began investigating the possibility of attending Regent because he needed a Ph.D. to continue teaching physical therapy at Hampton University. What initially attracted him to Regent wasn’t the school’s academics or spiritual life. It was the university’s location. 

“I wasn’t really walking with the Lord at that point,” Dyer admits. “I just went to Regent out of convenience. I lived less than two miles away. So, I applied and got in. But once I got in, I was immersed with some remarkable professors. … These folks were game changers. And then I was also immersed with students who did walk with the Lord, and I started growing into the environment.”

Dyer endured significant learning challenges as a child growing up in New Jersey, so his ability to earn a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from the School of Business & Leadership (SBL) is really quite remarkable.

“I actually had attention deficit disorder before they knew what it was. I was just known as a hyperactive kid with an overactive imagination,” he says. “As I got older, I got better. I did graduate from Regent with a good GPA, but it was a struggle and a journey.”

Three years after graduation, in 2004, Dyer won his first election to serve on the Virginia Beach City Council. A dedicated and popular public servant, he ran unopposed in three election cycles. But after 14 years in office, Dyer realized that God had bigger plans for him.

“In April 2018, the former mayor of Virginia Beach suddenly resigned,” he remembers. “And I honestly felt the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and tell me that I had to run. At the time, I had the safest seat in the city. … To run for mayor, I had to resign my seat. Had I lost, I would have had to vacate in December of last year.”

But Dyer didn’t lose. He won and was sworn in as the mayor of Virginia Beach, to serve out the term of the previous mayor, which expires on December 31, 2020.

“Regent was a very vital factor in not only my spiritual growth but my professional growth,” Dyer says. “Under the tutelage of SBL’s Dr. Bruce Winston, I learned what a healthy organization is. I learned effective communication, persuasion, conflict resolution and things of that nature. This is a job where you need a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence and people skills. … People can either complain about things or do something about them. That’s why I wanted to get involved in government — to make a difference.”

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