Reflections Based on a Visit I Made to My Alma Mater

How I came to know Regent University and make a decision to join one of its doctoral programs

Why I did decide to pursue a doctoral degree?

I didn’t know the existence of Regent University until 2008.

During that time, I was in transition. It had already been 3 years since I came to the US, and it felt like I wasn’t loyal enough to my purpose in life. I was far away from the center of my mission in life.

After spending days fasting and praying, I finally decided that I needed to pursue my doctoral degree in a field that could equip me to pursue my God-given purpose.

I still remember the pushbacks and objections I experienced when I shared this decision with the people around me. Many of my colleagues and friends thought I was crazy.

They rather preferred me to do a Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine (my first degree) or Computer Science (my Master’s). When they realized I wasn’t budging, they advised: “At least, study one of the science fields, not leadership…”

They were looking out for me and thought these were safe and predictable fields for an immigrant like myself. They couldn’t see me succeeding in the field of leadership. I don’t blame them…

Regent University Gate

While searching for which university and program to join, I was introduced to a master’s student who already enrolled at Regent University. Back then, we both were attending the same church in DC.

Since she didn’t give me permission, I won’t mention her name here and put her in the spotlight. However, I’m always grateful to her!

She was very generous in her time. After giving me some background info about Regent University, she suggested I should visit the campus and talk to the Deans of the different programs. I listened…

My first visit to the Regent University campus in Virginia Beach

Luckily, there was an upcoming 2-day campus visit event in 2008 at the end of the first week of November.

Regent University Campus

The event was jam-packed. We had a chance to:

  • Tour Regent University’s beautiful campus (I’ve attached some pics throughout this blog if you have never been there).
  • Attend briefings by Deans from different Schools.
  • Have one-on-one conversations with the Deans of schools we are inclined to join.

The founder of Regent University, the late Dr. Pat Robinson, shared how Regent University was formed and his vision.

About Regent University

Regent University, Eternal Flame

If you’re not familiar with Regent University, it is located in Virginia Beach, VA. It was founded in 1977 by Pat Robertson.  The university offers:

  • Associate,
  • Bachelor’s,
  • Master’s, and
  • Doctoral programs.

Regent is accredited by some national and regional accreditation institutions, including the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the most rigorous accreditation institution.

Why I wrote this blog?

You may be asking: “Where are you taking this blog?” Please be patient with me. I’m giving you some background and context.

Ship on Virginia Beach

My goal in this blog is to share with you:

  • My mindset,
  • How I make decisions, and
  • One of my longtime habits.

You may resonate with my story and how I see things. Who knows you may find some insights or approaches that may help you when you make your next tough decision. As you have seen so far, I took some steps before I made one of the most important decisions in my life: Where and what to study for my doctoral degree…

Besides, since you’re here, I’d like to share with you some pics I took during my visit to Virginia Beach and Norfolk in late July 2023.

One of my habits

Once in a while, I go back to where I was ten, five, or three years ago just for the purpose of recounting:

  • Who I was back then.
  • What my vision was.
  • How I viewed the world around me.
  • The concerns and worries I had during that stage of my life.
  • How far I have come and the blessings in my life since then.
Boat on Virginia Beach

I’ve this grateful mindset. Though I didn’t know when I started this mentality, it has been therapeutic. It helps me to:

  1. Remember how far I’ve come.
  2. Put things in perspective.
  3. Regroup and rejuvenate.
  4. Remain grateful even if I may be passing through tough times and things may look bad in the NOW.

Every time I go back to memory lane, relatively speaking, I find myself:

  1. How egotistical and selfish I was back then.
  2. How out of touch and unrealistic some of my thinking and expectations were.
  3. How much I worried in vain…

Sometimes, I fly or drive for hours to revisit a place where I was some years back.

My recent visit to Regent University

End of July this year, I was in Virginia Beach. During office hours, I was:

  • Reconnecting,
  • Networking, and
  • Doing business.

During the early morning and after work hours, I was:

  • Chilling on the beaches of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, or
  • Dining with friends, colleagues, former and prospective future clients.
Virginia Beach

Whenever I go to the Virginia Beach and Norfolk area, I attempt to:

  • Visit Regent University campus
  • Talk to some of my former professors on campus
  • Reconnect with cohort members in the area
  • Drive by the street of the house where I stayed for 6 months during the first year of my study at Regent University’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership program.

During this particular trip, I got lucky to:

  1. Meet the Dean of one of the schools in person. Since I didn’t get permission, I’m not mentioning the name of the Dean here.
  2. Talk over the phone with another Dean.
  3. Connect with some new professors and current students…

If you have never been to Regent University, here is what you will find when you step onto the campus and walk around:

  • You’re bound to smell love and calmness in the air.
  • You’ll find staff members with a sense of duty to give you outstanding service.
  • You’ll also encounter students and professors eager to greet and talk to you with a smiley face 😀

The Legacy of Dr. Pat Robinson


What made this particular visit different was that I visited the campus after the passing of the Founder, Dr. Pat Robinson. I read his autobiography when I was a student at the University. The reading allowed me to know him as:

  • Visionary and farsighted. I read his autobiography where he detailed what he saw and how he went about translating his vision into reality. If you have a mind and heart that appreciates a visionary, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not; whether you share that person’s beliefs or not, you honor them when you see with your own eyes the translation of their vision into realities.
  • Independent thinker. Pat was loved by many and equally hated by many because of his conservative values, and his charismatic and maverick personality. Believe me, no one is free from haters, if they do something significant like Pat did. Actually, there is a popular saying in my native country Ethiopia. Its translation in English is close to: “God, please don’t deny me of haters?” You will have haters if you haven’t yet if you are an independent thinker and change agent.
  • Pioneer. He ran for the US presidency. Many popular Christian leaders before him avoided politics.
  • Builder. I wasn’t just a visionary, he built enduring institutions. His legacy is continuing because he was a builder. He is still leading without his presence.
  • Generous with a big heart. I heard some heartwarming stories of how he personally helped some students financially, including from my own country, Ethiopia to study at Regent University. I also heard that before his passing, he gave away the Founders Inn and many of his personal possessions to Regent University.
Virginia Beach

If you’re in the DC metro area and an alumni or student of Regent University, you should join the DC Metro area Alumni Network Chapter. Stay in touch with your fellow alumni by joining the LinkedIn Group.

Reach out and let’s have coffee or lunch.

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