Regent hosts 9th Annual Reagan Symposium

“You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down. . .”-Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing 1964

On Friday, Feb. 7, Regent University hosted its 9th Annual Reagan Symposium entitled A Time for Choosing, modeled after Ronald Reagan’s 1964 Conservative Manifesto Speech. The event held by the Robertson School of Government addressed the issues of country, authority, and the need for change within America itself during Reagan’s time as the 40th president.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Ronald and Nancy Reagan

The symposium embodied the life and legacy of Reagan as an “agent of change” for the needs of American citizens, such as fair representation, balance of power and discussing the core problems of the Constitution.

The event was held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Regent’s the Communication and Performing Arts Center. At least seven guest speakers attended the event to share their knowledge of Reagan and how his legacy impacts modern American society.

Each speaker was given about 15 minutes each to discuss to the audience and have them consider the topic at hand, allowing the audience to then ask any questions within a 10 minute period. Among those speakers were Ryan T. Anderson, editor of Public Discourse; Stephen Knott, a professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College; Stewart McLaurin, executive vice president of the American Village Citizenship Trust; Joseph Loconte, author of God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West and more.

Panel: (Left to right) Claire Berlinski, Stephen Knott, Stewart McLaurin and Jospeh Loconte
Panel: (Left to right) Claire Berlinski, Stephen Knott, Stewart McLaurin and Jospeh Loconte

The Reagan Symposium, described as “one of the many political events at Regent that has enriched the learning that the school has to offer,” presented educational and insightful information on how to view and evaluate the issues plaguing today’s government.

 “Ronald Reagan [is] seen as a role model then and now for future generations,” stated McLaurin.

Associate Professor of Government Dr. Jeffry Morrison awarded the winners of the essay contest, three each from the high school, undergraduate and graduate level, with cash prizes. These students won based on their essays responding to the question, “What significant theme from Reagan’s ‘A Time for Choosing’ speech (1964) most resonates in the contemporary political scene? Why?”

Renowned for his natural stage humor, clarity and integrity when speaking, today’s conservative pundits remember Reagan as a president who “[did] what he thought was best for the American people” (Morrison).

Quoting a contestant’s essay, Morrison summed up the Symposium well: “Reagan had at least 85 percent of approval by Americans under 30 years of age when he left office at the age of 78. Many of today’s politicians don’t seem to believe in the people who they asked to vote for them. [However] Reagan [brought about a] refreshing tone to his speeches [to the point that it made them] captivating.”

“We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness”. –Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing, 1964