VIRGINA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will join the ranks of the unemployed in January when his term in office ends. WAVY.com asked the Governor about his next career move and a rumor that, if true, would bring him back to Hampton Roads.
Governor McDonnell's next job could be where he got his M.A. and law degrees -- Regent University. There is widespread speculation McDonnell's contribution as President of the Virginia Beach school could be huge.
"Well, that's not on the horizon right now," McDonnell told WAVY.com about the rumor, as he walked to an awaiting car. "I am still looking at a couple of options."
Regent University Chancellor and CEO Dr. Pat Robertson claims he is not currently looking for a president, even though there's an opening at the University. Former Regent Professor Dr. Chuck Dunn told WAVY.com the Bob McDonnell fit at Regent is like hand in glove.
"Pat Robertson and Bob McDonnell have a long-standing and trusting relationship, so there is credibility to this idea," Dunn said.
WAVY.com interviewed Dr. Dunn from his home in South Carolina where he's Professor Emeritus at Clemson University. He's also Professor Emeritus at Regent and says the fact is, former governors and political leaders often lead institutes of higher education. For example, former U.S. Senator Paul Trible put Christopher Newport University on the map, and Dunn believes McDonnell would do the same for Regent.
"Bob McDonnell would immediately begin to upgrade the profile of Regent University," Dunn said. "Having a President who has national standing as a former governor, who served as the chairman of the Governor's Association -- that would enable him as president to reach out to many places where Regent University cannot reach to recruit and to bring speakers to campus and things like that."
When WAVY.com asked McDonnell what he would do if he was offered the job, he still seemed reserved, but didn't rule it out.
"I love the place," McDonnell told WAVY.com. "I'm looking at a couple of options, but I love higher education."
Neither Robertson nor McDonnell are willing to say whether their paths will cross at Regent University, but Dunn says the move would be advantageous for both.
"[Robertson] needs someone of the stature of Bob McDonnell to help [him] implement the ideas that [he has] to further Regent University on the national and international stage,'" Dunn said.
If he were advising McDonnell, Dunn says he would tell him that serving as President of Regent University would keep him in Virginia and in the public eye. He said it would also be a great platform for both McDonnell and the university.
Regent University Spokesperson Mindy L. Hughes emailed WAVY.com in response to our inquiries about the rumor: "The University is proud of Governor McDonnell, but the Board of Trustees is not searching for a President at this time."
"Time and place have intersected, and Regent needs to act in a timely manner to acquire Governor McDonnell's services," Dunn said.
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