March 4, 2021 : By Jacob Couch - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
On Wednesday afternoon, former Virginia Govs. George Allen and Bob McDonnell joined in Liberty University’s Supreme Courtroom for a panel discussion aimed at offering law and government students advice and wisdom from their careers in law and public service.
The event was hosted by Liberty University School of Law and the Helms School of Government.
Both men reminded the students not to overlook this beneficial season of learning before they launch out into the world to make a difference for Christ.
“Always strive for excellence and have humble, servant leadership,” McDonnell said. “Be excellent in the small things. Don’t despise the times of small beginnings. Be faithful and always be positive.”
They also advised Liberty School of Law students to not view their future status as lawyers through a false lens of superiority.
“Never look down on anyone,” Allen said. “They’re human beings. Lawyers are important, but there are a lot of other people who are important to America.”
Both former Virginia governors agreed that Liberty is an incredible environment for law and government students to develop and grow before preparing to serve the public.
“I think you have a real gift here at Liberty,” McDonnell said. “I encourage a lot of you to consider public service. I don’t know if there’s a better thing you can do to sacrifice your time and sometimes your good name with the media, to serve other people.”
“It’s encouraging to see men and women of your caliber and most importantly of your character,” Allen added. “Character is the most important thing.”
Allen served as the 67th governor of Virginia from 1994-98. A self-described “commonsense Jeffersonian conservative,” he had the distinction of holding Thomas Jefferson’s seat in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1983 to 1991 and represented Virginia’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-93. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, where he drove the passage of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, championed the Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act, and sponsored the bipartisan Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act that prohibited taxes on Internet access.
McDonnell was sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia in 2010 and served until 2014. He served 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997. Upon graduating from law school in 1989, he served as a Virginia Beach prosecutor. McDonnell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991 and served 14 years representing Virginia Beach. He was elected as the 44th attorney general of Virginia in 2005. While attorney general, McDonnell successfully passed 92 of his 105 legislative proposals with strong bipartisan support.
Additionally, McDonnell was scheduled to speak in more government classes on Thursday and Friday and will headline a two-day virtual public policy conference, “Culture & Crisis: Reconciling Constitutionalism & Federalism in a Time of Crisis” beginning Friday at noon. The conference is hosted by the Helms School of Government in partnership with the Liberty University Journal of Statesmanship & Public Policy and will include three more plenary panels that will feature scholars from the Heritage Foundation and the Virginia Family Foundation. Over 50 presenters will take part in individual breakout sessions, including LU faculty, students, and others. Visit the conference website to view the full schedule and register.