Professor James Duane Interviewed on MSNBC

Professor James Duane was interviewed on MSNBC Thursday, May 23, regarding whether or not IRS official Lois Learner should be permitted to plead the Fifth Amendment in the congressional investigation. Duane's comments regarding the Fifth Amendment were also included in this Wednesday, May 22, online edition of New York Magazine, and articles in The Week , Politico and Yahoo! News on Thursday, May 23.

Learn more about Professor Duane

Grace Pandithurai named Alumna of the Year

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Broadway star," said Grace Pandithurai, the 2013 recipient of the Regent University Alumni Association's Alumnus of the Year award. Pandithurai, '10 (Law) (shown right, accepting award from Founder and Chancellor Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson) always longed to star in Elton John's musical adaptation of Aida. However, her parents—who raised Pandithurai in a traditional Indian home—had different plans
for her.

"My dad looked at me and said, 'Indian people don't do this; you can be a lawyer, a doctor or a computer scientist,'" said Pandithurai.

Pandithurai's father would remind her of the hardships, bribery and corruption he witnessed in his homeland. He had a special interest in the United States' legal system, which—despite Pandithurai's dreams of Broadway—instilled within her a love of pursuing law and justice.

"Since [my father] was so passionate, I became passionate," said Pandithurai.

However, Pandithurai's passion for music is a part of her day-to-day working environment as the Assistant District Attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas. There she is charged with the emotionally-challenging work as a prosecutor, representing children who are victims of sexual assault.

"I listen to a lot of worship music when I'm prepping cases," said Pandithurai. "And I belt it out at the top of my lungs."

Pandithurai began working for the state of Texas two years ago, and immediately began putting the values of servant leadership and ethics she learned at Regent into practice. In the midst of what she considers the "most heart-wrenching job" she's ever had, it's Pandithurai's Christian faith that holds her together.

Day-by-day, she confronts sexual predators and encourages her young—too young—clients to share their story. Her role in her clients' lives is synonymous with "pulling out the thorn" from the calloused wounds of rape victims, Pandithurai explained.

"When you pull the thorn out of your hand, there's a little hole—and it hurts for a little bit, but once it's gone, it's gone," said Pandithurai. "You'll have a scar, but the pain isn't there."

Though it may initially hurt to agitate a victim's sense of stability from the trauma of assault, according to Pandithurai, telling the truth is the first step of recovering and healing.

"I think telling the truth gives the victim a little bit of power back, because they realize they're probably preventing that from happening to somebody else," said Pandithurai. "And I want them to know that they have someone who is going to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that they get justice."

Pandithurai reminds herself of the men who were tenacious in the pursuit of taking their paralyzed friend to the feet of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Just as they stopped short of nothing to ensure their friend had the opportunity to be healed, Pandihurai does all that she can to infuse hope into the victims she comes in contact with.

"We all need to live our lives with that kind of passion and servant mindset that we're willing to do whatever it takes to get others to the feet of Jesus," said Pandithurai. "This is the life I want to live, not just professionally, but personally."

Learn more about Regent University Alumni Association.

By Brett Wilson
Photo courtesy of Alex Perry

Virginia Governor Addresses Executive Leadership Series

Regent University's Executive Leadership Series (ELS) welcomed Virginia Governor Robert "Bob" McDonnell '89 (Law and Government) at its monthly luncheon on Wednesday, May 1.

McDonnell, a former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and former Attorney General of Virginia, spoke candidly about the qualifications of a successful leader before a crowd of 500 at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

"Most of what I can tell you about leadership I've learned the hard way," McDonnell said. "It's one thing to know principles in your heart, but to have them tested is another thing entirely."

McDonnell used his breadth of personal experiences to outline the keys to leading successfully. "First, if you're going to enter leadership, you have to know what you believe in," he said. "Storms of life will always come, and you will be tested. You have to be able to stand firm in what you believe."

Second, "surrounding yourself with good people is critically important. I surround myself with outstanding support," McDonnell said, praising his staff members and advisors. "But leaders also must have the wisdom to let them do their jobs. Effort is nice, but results matter. Equip your people; then let them do what you've asked them to do in order to get results."

Quoting Jim Collins' research of management published in the book "Good to Great," McDonnell then differentiated between top-tier leaders and mediocre leaders. "The defining characteristic of the Level 5 leader was the 'X factor': humility."

This is where the concept of servant leadership is born out. "Great leaders are ambitious and driven to get things done, but not for themselves," McDonnell explained. "They do it for the organization and to move others forward."

The Bible affirms this idea in the gospel of Matthew with the words of Jesus: "the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve" (20:28).

"So much of servant leadership boils down to humility," McDonnell said, referencing President Reagan's leadership role in the non-violent fall of the Iron Curtain as an example. "It's amazing what you can get done when you don't care who gets the credit."

Next, McDonnell emphasized the importance of vision and measurement. "My team sets out a strategic plan, and then we have regular meetings to inspect and measure results," he explained.

He also encouraged leaders to keep their focus. "There's only so much you can do well," he said, citing his initial gubernatorial campaign plan with 55 points on it. The ultimate plan was pared down to three points and one overarching theme: "Bob's for Jobs." So far, McDonnell has made good on that campaign, as Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates east of the Mississippi River.

Lastly, McDonnell expounded upon the importance of having people get on board with the vision. "You might have the best ideas in the world, but it doesn't matter if you don't have 51 percent of the vote to carry them out. You have to communicate the vision and get people on board."

All of his accomplishments as governor, from the recently passed transportation bill to the budgetary surplus the state has maintained during his term, "have been made possible by people working together to get things done," he concluded.

McDonnell left the audience with reflections on America's leadership through history and thoughts on his favorite U.S. president, George Washington. "Washington could have been king, but he willingly walked away from power for the good of the nation," he said. "These values that make America the greatest nation in the world are what have brought us so much prosperity. If we will follow the admonitions of our forefathers, we will continue to be the greatest nation in the world."

Visit the ELS website for more information about upcoming speakers.

By Amanda Morad
Photo by Alex Perry

Regent Law Secures Victory at 12th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy for Third Year Running

Regent University School of Law students, faculty,  and staff contributed to the 1.5 million pounds of food collected by the local legal com...