Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson

Pat Robertson was born on March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, to A. Willis Robertson and Gladys Churchill Robertson. Lexington is an idyllic small town with a distinguished past nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is fitting that Pat was born in this community steeped in tradition and a heritage that is firmly rooted in the fabric of American history.

When Pat was two years old, his father was elected to the United States House of Representatives where he served for 14 years. In the House, A. Willis Robertson was a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, a group commissioned to oversee and guide all bills regarding taxation.

In 1946, Pat’s father was elected to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the aging Carter Glass. He served his country in the Senate for 20 years, becoming one of a handful of senior conservative Southern Democrats who controlled much of the business of the U.S. Senate.

Pat said of his father, “He lived humbly and frugally. He never forgot that he was a servant of the people, and that his private and public life must be above reproach.”

Both of Pat’s grandfathers were Baptist clergymen. James Robertson, Pat’s ancestor, who came to Virginia in 1695, was an Anglican clergyman. Several of his Virginian Churchill and Gordon ancestors were also clergymen.

After graduating with honors from McCallie School, a military prep school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Pat entered Washington and Lee University in 1946, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

After graduating magna cum laude from Washington and Lee in 1950, Robertson served as the assistant adjutant of the First Marine Division in combat in Korea. Pat would later recount the bitter cold the troops endured as the wind swept down from Manchuria, “in the morning we would have to break our shoes loose from the frozen ground when we got up each day.” Pat was promoted to first lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States.

Pat Robertson then attended Yale Law School. In 1954, at the end of Pat’s second year of law, he married a lovely young woman from Columbus, Ohio, named Dede Elmer. Dede was a graduate of Ohio State University and was studying for a master’s degree in nursing at Yale. Dede had been a fashion model and beauty queen.

Pat and Dede were married 67 years before she predeceased him on April 19, 2022, at the age of 94. Their marriage was a true partnership and Dede was a tremendous source of wisdom and encouragement in all of the various ministry activities and decisions that were to come.

Together they had four children: Timothy Brian Robertson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Elizabeth Robertson Robinson of Dallas, Texas; Gordon Perry Robertson of Chesapeake, Virginia; Ann Robertson LeBlanc of Portsmouth, Virginia; plus 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Pat earned his J.D. from Yale in 1955 and his M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary in 1959.

After Pat accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, the Lord spoke to Pat and told him to build a Christian television network for His glory. In 1959, Pat moved his family to Tidewater, Virginia, with just $70 and a vision of establishing the first Christian television network in the United States.

Although he didn’t even own a TV set, he filed incorporation papers for The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., then raised funds to purchase a defunct UHF station. On October 1, 1961, CBN began broadcasting from WYAH-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia. At the time, its signal barely reached the city limits. His son Gordon Robertson, CBN’s president and CEO, recalls how Pat would send a staff member down the block to the corner drugstore, which had a television, to see if the signal was coming through.

The ministry’s scope grew exponentially over the decades, reaching viewers across America and around the globe through television broadcasts, cable, satellite, the internet, and other media. Today, CBN is one of the world’s largest evangelistic ministries, proclaiming the Good News in over 100 countries and dozens of languages, including Russian, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

CBN’s flagship program grew out of a telethon in 1963, when Pat asked a “club” of 700 viewers to give $10 a month. In 1966, The 700 Club program was created, airing each weekday with interviews, prayer and ministry.

Today, The 700 Club, is one of the longest-running television programs in broadcast history. Pat hosted the daily program until October 1, 2021, the sixtieth anniversary of CBN’s first broadcast, and then announced that Gordon Robertson would be the show’s new full-time host. Over the years, Mr. Robertson’s co-hosts included Ben Kinchlow, Sheila Walsh, Gordon Robertson, Terry Meeuwsen, and Wendy Griffith.

Throughout its broadcast history, The 700 Club and CBN News have covered national and international events and issues, including key elections, the COVID-19 pandemic, the war on terror, Israel, and the Middle East. Guests have included former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump; key congressional leaders from both parties; as well as a “Who’s Who” of world and national figures, journalists, professional athletes, celebrities, and pundits.

In 1975, Pat was about to enjoy half a cantaloupe and cottage cheese for lunch when the Lord began speaking to him: I want you to buy the land, build your headquarters, and build a school for My glory.

Pat obeyed God, and miraculously purchased the land that would become the site of CBN headquarters and CBN University, later renamed Regent University.

Pat had an inspired vision of establishing a graduate-level institution that would train capable men and women for the challenge of representing Christ in their professions.

In 1977, his vision materialized—a 70-acre parcel of land in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was cleared, the foundation was poured for the university’s first building, and an institution was incorporated as CBN University. The following year, 77 students began classes in modest, rented facilities nearby.

Today with the mission of “Christian leadership to change the world,” Regent University offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in numerous disciplines and holds accreditations from bodies including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. U.S. News & World Report has listed Regent among the top national universities four years in a row.

Distinguished faculty and lecturers have included John Ashcroft, former U.S. Attorney General; Vern Clark, former Chief of Naval Operations; Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes, Inc.; Justice Samuel Alito, U.S. Supreme Court; and Michelle Bachmann, former U.S. Congresswoman.

In the fall of 1978, Pat Robertson was at home reading his Bible when the Lord led him to the book of Isaiah, chapter 58.

In this passage, the prophet, Isaiah records that the Lord said, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

Pat continued reading and saw this great promise from God: “then your light will break forth like dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘here I am.’”

Pat determined in his heart that this promise of blessing would belong to CBN. From that humble beginning, Operation Blessing has grown into one of the most efficient charities here in America, and one of the most effective in the world.

Operation Blessing was established with a mission “to demonstrate God’s love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.” Its programs focus on the primary goals of providing hunger relief, clean water, medical aid, and disaster assistance to help break the cycle of suffering for those in need.

Operation Blessing has provided relief aid in the aftermath of numerous disasters across America and around the globe, including the COVID-19 pandemic, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires. Since its founding, Operation Blessing has touched the lives of millions of people in America and around the world.

In 1990, Mr. Robertson founded the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a public interest law firm and education group that defends the First Amendment rights of people of faith. Focusing on pro-family, pro-liberty, and pro-life issues, the ACLJ has argued before the Supreme Court and won several high-profile religious freedom cases.

A prolific and New York Times best-selling author, Pat Robertson wrote 24 books, including The Secret Kingdom, Answers to 100 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, and The New World Order, which were each the number one religious book in America in the year of their respective publication.

His other books include the autobiographical works Shout It From the Housetops and I Have Walked With the Living God; along with My Prayer for You, Maximum Security, Beyond Reason: How Miracles Can Change Your Life, America’s Dates With Destiny, The Plan, The New Millennium, The Turning Tide, The End of the Age, Steps to Revival, Bring It On, The Ten Offenses, Courting Disaster, Miracles Can Be Yours Today, The Greatest Virtue, Right on the Money, Successful Families and Finances in the Secret Kingdom, The Power of the Holy Spirit in You, and The Shepherd King, released in 2023.

In 1986, Pat announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States on a conservative platform. While he enjoyed some success in the early primaries, he eventually placed third. At the 1988 Republican Convention, Pat endorsed Vice President George H. W. Bush, who won the nomination and the presidency.

Pat Robertson was a past president of the Council on National Policy. In 1982, he served on President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime. He previously served on the Board of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors in the State of Virginia. Pat founded and served as a president of the Christian Coalition of America until his resignation in 2001.

Over the years, numerous officials and groups have recognized Pat Robertson’s achievements, including: Humanitarian of the Year in 1982 by the Food for the Hungry organization; Man of the Year in 1988 by Students for America; Christian Broadcaster of the Year in 1989 by the National Religious Broadcasters; one of America’s 100 Cultural Elite in 1992 by Newsweek magazine; the Cross of Nails award in 2000 for his vision, inspiration and humanitarian work with The Flying Hospital; and the Distinction in Ministry Award in 2009 from New York Theological Seminary.

In 2013, he received the Winston Churchill Lifetime Achievement Award, the first of its kind awarded by the Faith & Freedom Coalition in Washington, DC. And in 2017, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Silver Anniversary Movieguide Awards in Hollywood, California, having served on the Board of Reference for their Christian Film & Television Commission since 2010.

In honor of his support for Israel, Pat Robertson received the Defender of Israel Award in 1994 from the Christians’ Israel Public Action Campaign; the State of Israel Friendship Award in 2002 by the Chicago chapter of the Zionist Organization of America; and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Support of Israel in 2008 by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

For more information on the life and ministry of Pat Robertson, please visit To watch his biblical teachings and learn about the God he loved and served, visit