Partner Profile: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
CNN named him “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement.” The Wall Street Journal identified him as “one of America’s seven most influential Hispanic leaders.” He is also considered by many to be the lead spokesperson for the 16 million strong Hispanic-American born-again Christians. And, when he was the featured speaker at Regent University’s Hispanic Heritage Chapel in September 2010, he brought down the house.
“For some time I’ve been interested in reconciling Christian higher education with academic excellence,” says Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. “When I saw that Regent was emerging academically as a very prestigious school, I was intrigued,” Rodriguez explains, adding that when he began looking at Christian universities he saw very few that incorporated the academic rigor exemplified by Regent.
Eleven years ago, when Rodriguez became president of the NHCLC, he reviewed the organization’s education directives and decided it was time to collaborate. “We discussed which schools we should reach out to in order to address the education needs of the Christian community,” Rodriguez says, “and because of its reputation for academic rigor, Regent was one of our top choices. The academic rigor was critical for us.”
There were other critical elements for Rodriguez and his NHCLC colleagues. “Regent Law’s achievements were very impressive,” he says, “and many key NHCLC leaders are Regent graduates. Of course, the appointment of Dr. Campo as the first Latino to lead a major Christian university in this country served as a catalytic moment and motivation for our 34,000-plus churches to say, ‘Regent is a school we need to partner with.'”
In 2009, Regent University signed an agreement with the NHCLC that positions it as that organization’s graduate educational strategic partner, making Regent the only Christian university with this designation. “Our partnership with Regent exists for the primary purpose of increasing graduate school educational opportunities for Hispanic evangelicals in the United States and Puerto Rico,” Rodriguez explains. “And I think so highly of the school that I applied and was accepted there to complete my Ph.D.”