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Alumni Award Recipient J. Christian Obenshain

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J. Christian Obenshain '00
2013 Young Alumnus Award Recipient

Since graduating magna cum laude from Bridgewater College in 2000 with a degree in political science and a minor in communications, Chris Obenshain has pursued public service to his commonwealth and country, and a commitment to the fair administration of justice in the United States. He currently works in the office of the attorney general of Virginia in Richmond, serving in the Sexually Violent Predators Civil Commitment Section.

Born in Richmond, Mr. Obenshain was raised primarily in Roanoke, Va., where he graduated from Cave Spring High School. Since May 2010, he has served as an assistant attorney general where he reviews and files civil commitment petitions in circuit courts around the commonwealth. In this role, he litigates numerous complex civil trials, in front of both juries and judges, to ensure that our communities remain safe from mentally ill violent sex offenders. He also handles a variety of appellate matters in both Virginia and federal courts.

Mr. Obenshain came to the attorney general's office from Radford, Va., where he served as assistant commonwealth's attorney from 2007-2010. While there, he represented the city in both misdemeanor and felony criminal matters in juvenile and domestic, general district and circuit courts. He also participated in a multi-jurisdictional task force to address and reduce sexual offenses against children.

Mr. Obenshain’s legal training has also included work in a variety of high-profile law offices, including the commonwealth's attorney's offices in Botetourt and Augusta counties and as a law clerk for the Hon. James W. Haley on the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Mr. Obenshain earned his law degree in May 2006 from the University of Virginia School of Law. While in Charlottesville, he served as president of the Federalist Society, a member of the Christian Legal Society and an editor for the Journal of Law and Politics. Prior to law school, he worked in the Washington D.C. office of Virginia Senator George Allen and served as director of correspondence for his 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Mr. Obenshain has remained actively involved in local and state politics, serving as secretary of both the Radford and Richmond Republican Committees, founder of the Roanoke/ New River Valley Young Republicans, a representative to the 9th Congressional District GOP committee and in various other grassroots positions. In 2010 he was selected for the prestigious Political Leaders Program organized by the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership in Charlottesville.

Further, Mr. Obenshain is proud to have served his country in the United States Army Reserve since 2002. Having first enlisted as a Humvee mechanic and tow truck operator assigned to the 299th Engineer Company at Fort Belvoir, Va., he advanced to the rank of sergeant before accepting a commission in the U.S. Army JAG Corps after law school. In 2009, he attended the 178th Judge Advocate Officer's Basic Course, where he was named to the Commandant’s List for finishing in the top 10 percent of his class. Today, he serves as a captain in the United States Army providing trial defense services to reserve soldiers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Finally, his greatest joy is found in the work he has done with his church, Area 10 Faith Community, in Richmond. As a member of the church prayer team, a small group leader, and part of the 2012 Vietnam Mission Team, Mr. Obenshain has had the opportunity to teach, learn and grow in his faith with an incredible body of believers dedicated to fulfilling the church’s mission of “Love Beyond Reason” in their city and around the world.

The Bridgewater College Alumni Association presents its 2013 Young Alumnus Award to J. Christian Obenshain and salutes his energy, talent and professional achievements, and his potential for even greater accomplishments ahead.