As Regent University’s founding was less than fifty years ago, legacy students here are quite unique. These students carry not only a family legacy but also play a role in establishing a tradition for future generations who may one day attend Regent. One of these legacy holders is Joseph Alfred Kohm III, who followed in his father’s footsteps to attend Regent University’s School of Law. I was privileged to speak with both Joe and his father, Joseph Alfred Kohm Jr., who live in the area and were very excited to discuss their mutual and individual experiences studying at Regent Law.
The Legacy Begins
Joe’s father, Joseph, attended Regent Law from 1993-1995. As if law school wasn’t difficult enough, Joseph began his education with a two-year-old and a newborn at his side. His wife, Lynne Marie Kohm, started working as a law professor at the same time he became a student, and she went on to be the first tenured woman law professor at Regent. Joseph was not allowed to attend any of his wife’s classes, but their close proximity on campus made childcare very convenient. They often passed off Joe and his sister to each other in the hallway between classes. After graduating, Joseph became an adjunct professor at Regent for seven years and now works at the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Legacy Continues
Many years following his father’s graduation, Joe went from running around the Moot Courtroom as a child with his younger sister to sitting in that same room for classes as a law student. Although he initially had no desire to go to law school, upon completing his undergraduate years at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), it became clear to Joe that this was where he was being called. Regent Law was the only school he ever considered for law school; for him, it was like coming home. As his mom was the dean of the law school during his attendance, Joe was often good-heartedly ribbed by other students, who called him the “Prince of Regent.” However, despite being the dean’s son, he remembers never being treated any differently than his fellow classmates. He graduated with the class of 2017 and went on to work at the Family Policy Alliance, of which he is now their public policy director.
The Legacy Intertwines
Joe and Joseph spoke passionately about the similar experiences they shared at Regent and loved that they had many of the same classes and professors despite attending several years apart from each other. They both highlighted how Regent was a great melting pot of Christian traditions and denominations. The intermingling of peers allowed them to hear different perspectives on Scripture and faith while always coming back to the basics of Christian belief. They also expressed how their individual walks of faith grew deeply during their time at Regent. Joe, in particular, noted how refreshing the atmosphere at Regent was after four years of competition and struggle at VMI. He had heard of other law programs in which students would hide books and study materials from one another, but at Regent, students shared their knowledge. Regent Law is one of the only schools Joe looked at that taught law from a Christian foundation and where fellow classmates were all truly sold-out Christians.
The two Kohm men shared classes and even professors during their individual times at Regent, some of which the two remain close friends with. A few of the professors they shared were Michael Hernandez, Craig Stern, Kathleen McKee, James Dwayne, and Eric Degroff. All of the law professors, they noted, had practiced law at some point, which set them apart from most law programs.
Joe said that he believes leadership is sustained through continuity, making his identity as a legacy student even more significant than simply attending the school his father went to. He is carrying on a great tradition that he hopes to pass to his future children and their future children and so forth. He is thankful for the opportunities Regent brought him and recognizes that nothing he received was of his own doing but solely from the grace of God that he was born into the family he was. He and his father hope that their testimony encourages other children of Regent alumni to consider furthering their education at Regent and to treasure what being a legacy student would mean for them.