RSG's 30th Anniversary Celebration Continues with Inaugural Lecture
As part of this year's activities celebrating the 30th anniversary of
Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG), the inaugural
A. Willis Robertson lecture was held Tuesday, Sept. 10. With a focus on
Virginia government and political issues, the new lecture honors the
school's namesake, Senator A. Willis Robertson, father of Regent's
founder and chancellor, Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson.
"This lecture is about the legacy of a family dedicated to
public service," said RSG dean, Dr. Eric Patterson, as he opened the
event. Senator Robertson was a national figure who spent a half-century
serving his country, first as an Army officer in World War I and later
spending four decades representing Virginia as an elected official.
The featured guest speaker was Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources
Doug Domenech. The self-proclaimed "Secretary of Fun" has a job that
would have been near and dear to Senator Robertson's heart as a national
leader in conservation efforts. Domenech presides over Virginia's state
parks and trails, including hunting and fishing regulations.
He began his remarks describing the early days of discovery in Virginia
and the natural resource crisis that Robertson faced head on at the dawn
of the 20th century. "It was a matter of taking too much without
understanding the consequences and having little restraint," he
explained. "Americans weren't thinking about conserving resources, they
were celebrating their good fortune."
And with few standards in place for hunting, fishing and development in
those days, many national wildlife populations such as bison, antelope
and beaver took a deep plunge in numbers and never recovered.
But Robertson, an all-American sportsman himself, saw the hammer as it
fell and worked for 30 years to set legislation that would help support
wildlife in America. That piece of legislature would eventually be
called the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Act, established in
It was essentially the first active "user pay, user benefit" law in
which taxes from hunting rifles and ammunition, as well as hunting and
fishing licenses, were re-invested into state efforts to protect
wildlife habitats and populations. To date, $6.4 billion has been
invested since 1937.
"This act secured the future of our nation's wildlife," Domenech said.
"Robertson left behind a legacy of conservation for this country's vast
"Government has the capacity to do great good if the right people are
willing to step forward and serve," Domenech said. "Our ideas can win
the battle, but we have to be in the fight."
Domenech is on the State Cabinet and manages six state agencies that
oversee parks and outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, and historic
resources including Civil War battlefields and the Virginia Museum of
Natural History. He is also known as "The Green Guy," managing the
state's environmental air and water quality, as well as the state's
energy portfolio, and he also maintains relationships with the state's
Native American tribes.
Learn more about the Robertson School of Government.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888