Former Assistant Police Chief Robert L. Vernon urges students to nurture good character, become effective leaders

Former Assistant Police Chief Robert L. Vernon urges students to nurture good character, become effective leaders

Former Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Robert L. Vernon told students, faculty members, administrators, and guests during two recent Waynesburg University lecturers entitled, “Character: The Foundation of Leadership” that, while each person has different skills, talents, and opportunities, everyone has the same potential to improve his or her character. “And character,” Vernon related, “is the basis of leadership and persuading other people to follow you.”

Vernon’s visit to Waynesburg University was sponsored by the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, which seeks to relate Christian Ethics and respect for the U.S. Constitution to contemporary issues.

During Chief Vernon’s visit to Waynesburg, he spoke to twelve classes about a wide range of topics such as: “The Federalist Papers and the Problem of Political Faction,” respect for private property, Old Testament King Hezekiah’s reforms in Ancient Israel, the challenges of forensic crime investigation, police interrogation of criminal suspects, tax policy, the war on terrorism, and white collar crime.

“Chief Vernon drew upon his 38 years of leadership in the Los Angeles Police Department and his subsequent global discussions with government leaders in over 55 countries as the founder of the Pointman Leadership Institute to inspire Waynesburg University’s students toward excellence in whatever field they pursue,” said Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership. “He brought a wealth of practical wisdom and theoretical knowledge to the Waynesburg University community.”

Several students commented about the impact Chief Vernon’s visit had on them. “Chief Vernon’s lecture series gave me insight into both the workings of a police officer as well as how to be an effective leader in the modern world,” said Gina Robinson, a freshman English/secondary education (literature) major from Lower Burrell, Pa.

Robinson continued, “Being an education major, one of my major concerns is how I will motivate my students, and Chief Vernon’s seminar made me realize that, to get my students involved, I have to be a good leader myself.”

Echoing Robinson, Chase Ayers, a freshman sociology (pre-law) major from Charleroi, Pa. said, “The wisdom that Chief Vernon bestowed upon us is indispensable. Today, too many leaders do not understand the importance of leading by example, and Chief Vernon highlighted the importance.” Zander Shashura, a sophomore business management major from Fredericktown, Pa., commented, “Chief Vernon was an excellent speaker and his deep knowledge of the Bible was inspiring to me. He challenged me not only to be a better leader and stand for what is right, but to also get into the Bible more and see everything God has in it for us.”

Jonathan Waldon, a junior sociology (political science) major from Carmel, Ind., commented, “Through his extensive experience of leadership and stories on police work, he taught me new aspects of leadership and kept me interested the entire time. I found his points on being empathetic in a leadership role especially interesting.”

Daniel Czajkowski, a sophomore criminal justice major from Frederick, Md., commented, “Having such a prominent figure from within the world of criminal justice and leadership on campus with us was indeed a great privilege. Chief Vernon not only provided us with practical leadership tools, but encouraged us to approach leadership with a Christian ethic and from a Christian worldview. Chief Vernon’s thoughts and expression of faith were most inspiring.”

Stephanie Laing, a senior communication (journalism) major from Las Vegas, Nev., said, “Chief Vernon emphasized the character traits I deeply desire and work so hard towards. Vernon’s lectures came at the best time. I have an even deeper desire to attain these character traits and become the best possible leader.”