A strong commitment to the Center's mission unites its staff

Charlie EmmerichCharles J. Emmerich, J.D., LL.M.

Professor of Legal Studies and Legal Scholar in Residence, Olivet Nazarene University
Executive Director, The Center for Law and Culture

Charles J. Emmerich is Professor of Legal Studies and Legal Scholar in Residence at Olivet Nazarene University. He is also the founder of the Center for Law and Culture, a non-profit organization housed at Olivet that inspires virtuous leadership in public life by providing worldview education in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In particular, the Center’s programs educate future public leaders how to glorify God, serve their neighbors, and care for creation.

After earning a B.A. (theology and archeology) from Wheaton College, Emmerich completed a law degree (J.D.) at the University of Idaho and an advanced law degree (LL.M.) in constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn he studied under esteemed federal appellate judge Arlin M. Adams. Prior to accepting the position at Olivet, Emmerich served as national director of law student ministries of the Christian Legal Society, as pre-law director at Wheaton College and at Trinity International University, and as executive director of the Center for Church/State Studies at DePaul University College of Law. Between 2002-2012, Emmerich implemented and taught a rigorous politics and law curriculum at Trinity Christian College, which partnered with the Center for Law and Culture during its first decade.

He has published numerous articles on Christian worldview formation and on the historical development of religious liberty in the Anglo-American tradition. Along with his mentor, Judge Adams, he also co-authored the book A Nation Dedicated to Religious Liberty, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Graced with a foreword by Warren E. Burger, former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, this book has been praised by prominent legal scholars and cited extensively in several cases of the United States Supreme Court.

Dr. Emmerich resides with his wife, Susan, and their daughter, Lydia, in Bourbonnais, Illinois, where they are active in The People’s Church.


Zach-Headshot-SizedZach Bohannon, M.A.

Director, The Center for Law and Culture

Zach Bohannon has served as The Center for Law and Culture’s Director at Olivet Nazarene University since October 2014. Hired under the auspices of the unique Center-Olivet partnership, Zach oversees day-to-day operations; constituent relations; and student recruiting for the Law, Justice, and Culture Institute. Prior to his full-time responsibilities as Center Director, he served as a volunteer advocate for the Center in his native area of greater Cincinnati. In this role, Zach coordinated several gatherings at which Dr. Emmerich shared the Center’s mission with business leaders, attorneys, politicians, political activists, educators, stay-at-home parents, pastors, doctors, and other concerned citizens.

Zach earned a B.S. in Mass Communication and an M.A. in Religion from Olivet Nazarene University and has experience in advancement, Christian education, local government, and politics. While Zach brings an array of talents to the Center, he brings an equally important passion for inspiring biblically informed, virtuous, and engaged leaders and citizens. “People are hungry for the Center’s hopeful message of restoring America’s noble legal heritage,” Bohannon remarks, “now is the time to expand the beachhead for law and liberty at Olivet to reclaim our great nation for Christ and His Kingdom.”

Zach is a 2014 graduate of the Law, Justice, and Culture Institute. He lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois, where he is active in College Church of the Nazarene.


Susan EmmerichSusan D. Emmerich, Ph.D.

Consultant, Development and Creation Care Program
The Center for Law and Culture

Dr. Susan Drake Emmerich is a consultant to the Center and assists in advancement and constituent relations. She is the founder and CEO of Emmerich Environmental Consulting and is a nationally known speaker on environmental stewardship She is a 1997 Harvey Fellow and former assistant professor of biology at Trinity Christian College where she taught environmental science and directed an environmental research partnership between Trinity and the Lake Katherine Nature Preserve.

She founded and directed the Tangier Watermen’s Stewardship for the Chesapeake, a non-profit organization, and is the co-producer of the Telly and Aurora award-winning PBS documentary on the Tangier Watermen’s Initiative, “Between Heaven and Earth: The Plight of the Chesapeake Bay Watermen.” She is also the co-producer of “When Heaven Meets Earth: Faith, Environment and Justice,” an hour-long film based on two faith-based stewardship initiatives she has implemented.

As a former U.S. representative to the United Nations and employee of the U.S. Department of State, Emmerich was a negotiator at the 1992 Earth Summit, Biological Diversity Convention, Global Climate Convention, and the Chair of the Secretariat for the International Coral Reef Initiative. She also worked for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the World Bank, EPA, and Department of Interior as a Presidential Management Fellow. Emmerich also served as the director of the East Coast office of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies and as vice president of the Au Sable Institute’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Emmerich resides with her husband, Charlie, and their daughter, Lydia, in Bourbonnais, IL, where they are active in The People’s Church.


Melissa HoltropMelissa Holtrop

Communications Manager

With more than 12 years’ experience in marketing and communications, Melissa brings creative insight and attention to detail to her work with the Center for Law and Culture. A graduate of Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Illinois), she majored in communications arts with minors in English, graphic design, and political science. For more than four years, she was an integral member of the marketing department at Trinity where she excelled in graphic design, photography, content editing and management and creative direction in her role as director of publications. She then spent three years at a branding and design agency, the latter two as web director, and now works with clients like the Center as a communications consultant. Melissa’s experience and diverse abilities, especially in organization and commitment to delivering quality, contribute to her value as a manager and leader in serving the Center. She and her husband, Peter, reside in Crestwood, Illinois.