Dr. Carol Taylor Receives Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award

Dr. Carol Taylor is the first woman to serve Vanguard University as president in its 90-year history.

Taylor was named president of the Costa Mesa, California, school in 2009, having served as provost and vice president for academic affairs since 2007. She has led Vanguard through times of crises, and they have emerged strong and infused with a renewed commitment and hope for their future.

A 1973 Evangel graduate, she is being honored at homecoming this year by the Evangel Alumni Association with the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The award will be presented at the homecoming banquet, which takes place Saturday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the University Plaza Convention Center.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree in elementary education that she obtained at Evangel, Taylor also holds a master’s degree in cross-cultural communication from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in multilingual/multicultural education from Florida State University.

Taylor has accumulated more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience; including 12 years at Educational Testing Service in Princeton. ETS develops and administers tests such as the SAT and GRE and is the nation’s leading testing research company.

Her first reaction to being told of the Distinguished Alumnus Award was one of disbelief.

“I feel very, very honored and humbled by this,” she says.

The meaning of ministry

In the same spirit of humility, Taylor talks about her successful career and life accomplishments. It has not been a journey of grasping for opportunity, but rather allowing God to show the way.

She remembers clearly a day when she was a student at Evangel, and her understanding of God’s calling began to crystalize. She was talking with one of her favorite professors, Dr. Thurman Vanzant, and he shared with her a concept that has stuck with her.

“I knew Dr. Vanzant had at one time been a pastor. I got up the courage to ask him why he had left the ministry,” Taylor says.

“He placed his hands on his desk and said, ‘I never left the ministry; God just changed the shape of my pulpit.’

“That was the moment I began to understand that your vocational calling is that place where God calls you to be His presence in the world. Whether in vocational ministry, for-profit ministry, not-for-profit ministry . . . God gets to decide the shape of the pulpit.”

Saying “Yes!”

When the first female president of Vanguard University is asked what advice she now gives to other aspiring young people, especially women, her answer is in keeping with her philosophy.

“Let your career pursue you,” Taylor says.

“As women, our paths are diverse and unique. If you had told me when I was a student at Evangel that I was going to be president of a university someday, I could not have even imagined it. I am convinced that if we live each day of our lives in obedience to Him, everything else takes care of itself. If we really believe that the One who created us knows where our deepest desires and passions lie, He will lead us to places where we get to discover that in profound ways. Our job is to say yes.”

This is how her own career evolved, without a planned progression into leadership.

“I was simply given the opportunity to do things,” she says. “It wasn’t a sudden a-ha moment. It was a natural transition into leadership. I remember when I first went to ETS, I thought someone would come to my door and say, ‘I don’t know what we were thinking, hiring you!’ But they never did, and I was given wonderful opportunities to lead large projects and programs.”

“It was later, as I began reading and thinking more intentionally about leadership, that one day it dawned on me, ‘Wow, this is what I’m meant to do.’”

Hard places

God’s leading hasn’t always been easy, but He has always been faithful and worthy of trust.

“I will never forget the day I was standing in an emergency meeting of the executive presbyters and executive committee of the board at Vanguard,” she says. “They turned to me and said, ‘Carol, would you be the acting president?’”

“In that moment, there was a deep, quiet voice that said, ‘What if this is why you came?’

“I was asked to take leadership during a difficult time for Vanguard University,” Taylor says. “Only 15 months later, their accrediting commission declared that the university had made ‘phenomenal progress’ and ‘a significant institutional turnaround.’”

During this time, Taylor learned about her own strength and resiliency. Most of all, she learned once more to lean on God.

“I encourage young leaders: don’t be afraid of the hard place that God places you,” Taylor says. “You will discover how big God is in those places. You only discover that when you have to depend on Him. We’re reminded again and again that we never have enough resources in ourselves. The resiliency isn’t in our own strength or cleverness – it is in the profound sense that God is at work. We don’t get to write the journey. We just follow it. It’s far better than anything we could do on our own.”

Release from Evangel University.

Champion of $140,000 and of Judson’s Legacy

Vanguard University Director of Graduate Admissions, Drake Levasheff and his “Team Judson’s Legacy” have won on the finale on Game Show Network’s The Great American Bible Challenge–a new Bible trivia TV game show that puts modern twists on its questions, like ‘what verse did NFL quarterback Tim Tebow paint on his face?’  After three shows including the grand finale, a $140,000 of winnings will go to a New York research facility.

The winnings to Judson’s Legacy will go to help develop and sustain a Myelin Repair Lab at the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute in Buffalo, NY, which is trying to find a cure for the disease that killed the California family’s young son, as well as the son of Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.

The Levasheffs, who live in Irvine, Calif., discovered Buffalo when the nonprofit that Jim and Jill Kelly started contacted them. Since 2008, the summer after Christina Levasheff’s son died, she and her husband have gone to Ellicottville for a leukodystrophy symposium and family support gathering with expenses paid by the Hunter’s Hope Foundation.

Last year, the foundation helped found the institute to focus on disorders related to the dysfunction of the fatty white nerve coating in the brain, myelin. Krabbe disease, the resulting affliction that struck Hunter Kelly and Judson, causes motor skills to malfunction and ultimately leads to death.

The research focus inspired Levasheff’s game show ambition. All contestants must dedicate their winnings to a charity. She wanted a legacy for her son and to help fund and expand a lab within the institute devoted to repairing myelin.

“He  was really bright and really articulate, and you would have never imagined there was a deadly disease lurking in his body,” she said of Judson. “He was missing an enzyme in his body, so toxins were building up, and at some point it just triggers disease onset. … In a matter of five months, he went completely paralyzed, blind and mute.”

Judson Levasheff was a precious little boy whose body was suddenly and rapidly ravaged by Krabbe Disease.  Through his legacy, lives are being changed.  Learn more about Jud and Krabbe at STORYofJUDSON.com

TV Game Show to Offer $100,000 to Director of Grad Admissions Charity

Drake Levasheff is a native of southern California who has spent most of his adult life in a college setting.  He earned a BS from Biola University, an MA in New Testament Studies from Talbot School of Theology and is a PhD candidate in History of Early Christianity at University of California, Los Angeles.

Drake lives in Irvine with his wife and daughter and is active in ministry at his local church.  He has served at Vanguard University for six years.

One day this summer, Christina, Drake’s wife got an email. It was from a casting director at the Game Show Network. They were premiering a new show in the fall called “The American Bible Challenge.” The director knew that Christina was Christian and had a story to tell. She should audition.

How, might you ask, did a game show casting director know Christina? Well, let’s start with “Family Feud.” The Levasheffs were on it in 2001. They lost. Let’s just say that “survey says” teapots whistle, not birds.After “Family Feud,” there was “Let’s Make a Deal,” “Minute to Win It” (they never made it past the boot camp) and “Shop ’til You Drop” (they won a guitar).

The ” American Bible Challenge” show aired Aug. 30 with Jeff Foxworthy hosting. To top it off, Team Judson’s Legacy won, beating out two other teams in a Final Revelations nail-biter after acing other rounds, including Eye of the Tebow, My Tweet Lord and CSI Holy Land. They left with $20,000, an amount that does not come easily for rare diseases.

To read OC Register story CLICK HERE.

Team Judson’s Legacy went back on Oct. 4 for the semifinals to win and get another $20,000 and head to the finals.  The finals are to air tomorrow night, October 18 where they can score $100,000 more. The shows have already been shot, but the Levasheffs’ lips are, by contract, sealed.

God’s blessing to Drake and the Team Judson’s Legacy Team now and in the future.

Investigation Discovery to Air Award-Winning Film by Olivia Klaus ’99

Filmmaker Olivia Klaus Speaks to Students at Vanguard University about her Award Winning Film, Sin by Silence: Film to Rebroadcast on Investigation Discovery on Wednesday, October 24 at 7 p.m.  EST.

Costa Mesa, CA (October 15, 2012) – Filmmaker, lawmaker, and Vanguard University alumnus, Olivia Klaus, spoke to students on Monday morning at Vanguard University.  Her award-winning film, “Sin by Silence,” is the impetus for the creation of two Assembly Bills – AB 593 & AB 1593 – that have just been signed by Governor Brown into California law on behalf of survivors of domestic violence.

With a glowing introduction by Sandie Morgan, Director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ), Klaus set the backdrop for well-needed awareness about domestic violence as an epidemic.  Citing sobering statistics, Klaus explained that domestic violence affects one in three women and that four women die each day from abusive relationships.

The seed for the film, which showcases the lives of five women who are serving sentences for killing their abusive husband, was planted when Klaus received a desperate phone call from a friend-in-need who had confided in Klaus that she was in a battered relationship.  With the goal of helping her friend, Klaus set about trying to understand domestic violence first-hand.  After three years of visiting the California Institute for Women, she cultivated strong friendships with a group of women who belong to the only inmate-initiated and led battered women’s support group in the U.S. prison system called Women Against Abuse.  These friendships inspired Klaus to make the film.

Throughout the talk, Klaus encouraged students to have courage, follow their dreams, create change, and do what is right – advice she received years earlier from her beloved grandmother.  She also admitted that the road to the film’s success was a bumpy one.

“This film would have never happened without so many people, including the community here at Vanguard,” Klaus said, praising former Vanguard professor, Dr. Elizabeth Leonard, who initially went with the filmmaker to meet with women serving sentences related to domestic violence.  “I wanted to quit several times,” she added.   That she didn’t quit was the message she hoped the students received.

In 2011, Sin by Silence caught the attention of California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma after it aired on Discovery Investigation Discover channel.

CLICK HERE to find your local channel.

Klaus explained that the Assemblywoman was so moved by the documentary that she contacted Klaus to work together to create legislation designed to give these forgotten victims of domestic violence the chance at justice they had previously been denied. On September 30, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bills 593 and 1593 into law.  Both go into effect January 1, 2013.

Only one week until broadcast!


Make a difference during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and join in the impact by sharing the news with your family, friends, and co-workers. Go even further by inviting them over to watch and experience Sin by Silence on October 24th at 7pm on Investigation Discovery.

CLICK HERE to download the “Broadcast Party Guide”

Distinguished Vanguard Professor Celebrated at 20th Anniversary of Hispanic Evangelical Movement

National Latino Evangelical Justice Coalition Launch Announced at 20th Anniversary of the Hispanic Evangelical Movement

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012
PRNewswire | HISPANIC PR WIRE
Delegates from across the nation and Puerto Rico traveled to commemorate the historic 20th anniversary of the Hispanic Evangelical Movement which celebrated Dr. Jesse Miranda, A.M.E.N. and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and included the announcement of the National Latino Evangelical Justice Coalition launch. [logo]

Dr. Jesse Miranda, a distinguished professor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif., is an international Christian leader with a firm commitment to Latino civic engagement. A noted community leader and religious educator for more than 45 years, Dr. Miranda’s expertise and extensive background in the areas of leadership, social ethics, reconciliation, and theological education resulted in him being called upon by four United States Presidents for consultation on issues dealing with church, society and immigration.

Rev. Jim Tolle, Sr. Pastor of El Camino Church in Los Angeles, Calif., said, “The evangelical community honored Dr. Jesse Miranda, one of its most influential and beloved leaders, for his trailblazing life through tributes and presentations at a large gathering in Los Angeles. A renowned scholar, whose creativity and bridge-building efforts have impacted thousands of students, pastors and leaders, Dr. Miranda is the father of the greatest growth segment of Christianity in the United States during this generation.”

In 1992 Dr. Jesse Miranda, after witnessing the city of Los Angeles incinerated in a fire of racial strife and discord as a result of the Rodney King trial, established the Hispanic Evangelical network, Alianza de Ministerios Evangelicos Nacionales (A.M.E.N.). Through the years, his devotion to family, faith and community speaks to a leader who bows before God so that he can stand before man.

20 years later, the NHCLC, which was initiated by NHCLC President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, as the apparatus for the next generation chapter of A.M.E.N., stands recognized by major periodicals, news outlets, scholars and leaders as ‘The voice of Hispanic Evangelicals.’

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, is the Hispanic Evangelical Association unifying, serving and representing millions in the Hispanic Born Again community through 40,118 churches by reconciling the vertical and horizontal planes of the Christian message—via Billy Graham’s message of salvation through Christ reconciled with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march for justice—through the NHCLC’s seven directives of Life, Family, Great Commission, Stewardship, Justice, Education and Youth.

The announcement of the launch of National Latino Evangelical Justice Coalition was received with tremendous applause from attendees at the 20th Anniversary Celebration. Dr. Yuri Mantilla, newly appointed President of the National Latino Evangelical Justice Coalition and Director of International Government Affairs at Focus on the Family, said, “In this decisive moment in the history of our nation, the application of the biblical principles of justice to our society is of special importance. A just society is one that respects the dignity of each human being created in God’s image. The Hispanic Evangelical Justice Coalition exists to defend and promote respect for the imago Dei, as a foundation for the defense of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, since the time of conception, and religious liberty for all.”

Miranda expressed enthusiasm for the launch of the National Latino Evangelical Justice Coalition, stating, “Today, we further the cause by launching this Coalition with an expanded agenda in order to do justice in the name of Jesus.” The coalition will focus on issues such as human trafficking, immigration reform, poverty alleviation and religious liberty.

To read full story click HERE.