Vanguard Goes Beyond the Expected to Help Veterans

“Of any school I have attended, Vanguard has been by far the most supportive and efficient, whether it be answering my questions or validating my enrollment with the VA.  The Veterans Resource Center staff has far exceeded any and all expectations I have had, coming from other universities I have attended in California.”  – Jon Barkley ’12 United states Marine Corps.

Veterans need to be connected with their meaning and purpose in life after the military.  Vanguard serves a small population of veteran because we believe that relationships are at the core of the healing process. Vanguard invests in the individual: Academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

More below about Vanguard’s honoring of Veteran’s by The Daily Pilot.

By B.W. Cook

The Daily Pilot

During this Fourth of July remembrance week, it is important to acknowledge that our freedom often comes at a very high price. That price, of course, is the sacrifice of loved ones serving military missions far from their homes, and putting their lives on the line every day so those of us not in harm’s way can share the 4th of July holiday with family and friends.

Recently in Costa Mesa at Vanguard University, a much more serious dedication in advance of the Fourth of of July celebration honored America’s veterans with the creation of a “Courtyard of Honor.” Adm. Vernon E. Clark, former chief of Naval Operations for the Navy, joined forces with Brent Theobald, Vanguard University’s director of Veteran Affairs, in welcoming some 150 local veterans and their families at the unveiling of a permanent installation that Vanguard officials are labeling as “Value Pillars.”

Each of the pillars in the Veterans Courtyard relates to a specific ideal of service. Inscribed on the pillars are quotations and verses from scripture dealing with the ideals of honor, gratitude, camaraderie, commitment, justice, truth and integrity.

The Daily Pilot

OC Register: Meet Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Nicole Suydam ’95

As of April 2012, Nicole Suydam ’95, has accepted the role of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County’s chief executive officer. Suydam studied history/political science during her time at Vanguard University. Second Harvest commented on her promotion: “As we make the transition to new executive leadership, we are thrilled to welcome Nicole as CEO. Nicole is a proven leader in community relations, fundraising, organizational leadership and board development, maintaining long-term relationships with Orange County funders and community leaders. She will be an invaluable asset to the organization.”

Nicole served as Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County’s development manager from 1997 to 2001.  Her latest position as vice president of development for Goodwill of Orange County had her as the overseer of business and fund development, community relations, and board development, also managing the successful $7 million Goodwill Fitness Center capital campaign.  Her experience also includes roles as development manager for Women in Community Service in Alexandria, Virginia and deputy finance director for the California Republican Party in Burbank. In 2011, Suydam was featured in OC METRO’s “40 Under 40” list of outstanding young professionals in Orange County. All-together, Suydam brings 16 years of successful non-profit management and leadership experience to the organization.

The Register‘s own Adam Probolsky speaks to his admiration and appreciation for Nicole and her accomplishments and service to the community.  (See article below. )

FOR The Register

I have known Nicole Suydam for at least 15 years. When we first met, she worked for Second Harvest Food Bank (her first stint at the charity) as development manager. Later, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she raised money for a national nonprofit organization. Then, she returned to Orange County where she spent nine years at Goodwill. When she left, she was vice president and a member of Goodwill’s senior leadership team.

Today, Suydam is a mother of two and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. She manages over 50 employees and oversees the distribution of 16 million pounds of food a year from Second Harvest’s 121,000 square-foot food distribution facility on the Great Park site. Secured from the U.S. Navy through the McKinney Act (legislation which provides land for poverty relief organizations), the warehouse was used for storing Humvees during the days when Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was operational. The massive space has a redwood super structure and includes office space and cold storage.

Second Harvest provides food to 470 member charities, from church pantries to soup kitchens and homes for abused women, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers.

Nicole has always had a passion for people in need. “If you are hungry, it is very hard to be a good citizen,” she said. “A lot of people are struggling.” Speaking to Nicole in her office, she says the photos of her family on her desk keeps her grounded. The “It CAN be done” plaque reminds her to be positive and to look for ways to overcome challenges. She also made it clear that she is fond of her wireless telephone headset.

Why does she like it so much? “Because I like to talk with my hands,” she said.

OC Register