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Weaver Fellow Mark DeYoung Pursues Law Degree Following Careers in Radio, Ministry

Mark DeYoung ’13 called it “a little daunting,” coming back to school in 2010. It was in the fall of that year that DeYoung, now a 3L, began at the College of Law, following careers in both radio and ministry.

DeYoung, who grew up in West Chester – albeit a much different West Chester than the one he and his family call home today – graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1992. There, DeYoung double-majored in religious studies and philosophy. Upon graduating, he landed a job in radio management in the Nashville area and later co-hosted a Top 10 morning show.

In 1997, DeYoung’s radio career moved to Kansas, where he was a producer and on-air talent for Metro Networks. Meanwhile, he was pursuing and ultimately received his masters of divinity from the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., in 2001. “I felt a really strong ‘calling’ to go into ministry,” DeYoung said. “It was interesting how things fell into place for me to get a full-ride (scholarship) in seminary, and land a job in the Kansas City area. We moved out there on faith.”

Faith is His Foundation

After graduating, DeYoung helped start a new church, the GracePoint Church in Shawnee, Kan. In 2004, DeYoung became the senior pastor at the Fairmeadow Community Church in Munster, Ind., part of the metro Chicago area. He stayed there until 2010, before deciding to attend law school in Cincinnati.

“I decided that I could use my communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills in a way that might help people outside of the politics of the church. I found some of what goes on in religious institutions very frustrating, to the point that I decided I’d rather make a positive impact outside of full-time ministry,” DeYoung said of his transition from church to the law. “Of course, I am still in ministry on a part-time basis with a brand new church in Loveland called Branches Church.”

After opting to attend the College of Law instead of a school in Chicago, DeYoung returned to his hometown about 20 years since he left. DeYoung, who said he “missed Skyline and the Reds mostly,” noted the unrecognizable parts of West Chester, as well as praised the growth downtown, including The Banks.

Transitioning back to school, with a wife and three children, was challenging for him, DeYoung said, personally and not just academically. But near the end of his 1L year, DeYoung was accepted into the Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry, and has enjoyed his experience to date.

“It’s been very interesting,” DeYoung said. “The fellowship is in the midst of some changes. It was primarily centered around course work and writing a lengthy paper in the past. Now we are putting on more events for the law school, and getting involved in a mental health court. Some of it is still in the works.”

DeYoung said the primary course work has been Mental Health Law I and Mental Health Law II, taught by A.J. Stephani. “I can’t say enough about how good those classes are,” he said. “They are small, basically just the law Fellows and two psychiatry Fellows. A.J. is one of the best professors I have had here, or anywhere, for that matter.”

Getting Experience in the Law

Outside of school, DeYoung worked at Graydon Head and Ritchie as a summer associate in 2011. This past summer he clerked for a judge in Warren County’s domestic relations court, which he has continued to do on a part-time basis during the school year.

“Domestic relations is a really interesting field, and it’s something I may pursue,” DeYoung said. “Frankly, my only goal is to get a satisfying job where I can support my family and use my skillset productively.”

DeYoung, who has also been a research assistant for Professor Ronna Schneider, continues to enjoy music outside of the law. The West Chester native and resident has long enjoyed the guitar, as well as biking long distances when he has the chance.

By Jordan Cohen, ‘13