A battle cry to serve those who have served resonates at Vanguard University’s Veterans Day Celebration

Vanguard University veterans resource center veterans day celebrationOn Friday, dozens of people gathered in the Veterans Courtyard of Honor at Vanguard University to honor the men and women who have served our country.  The Vanguard University Beautyshop

Quartets kicked off the ceremony with their harmonious rendition of the National Anthem.

The theme that emerged throughout the ceremony was one that veterans, their friends, and family know all too well: freedom comes at a price.  “Our families know the price of freedom,” said Sgt. Frank Orzio, USMC, a pastor at Wounded Warrior Ministries before he gave the invocation.  Referencing John 3:16, the price God was willing to pay for the salvation of his people, Orzio talked about how we must remember those valiant warriors who served and ensure that their lives are not wasted.


Presentation of the Colors

Sgt. Brent Theobald, a Vanguard University alumnus who is the Director of Veterans Affairs at Vanguard University briefly shared the important role Vanguard University played in his transition after returning from tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  He reminded the crowd that each year over 30,000 veterans return home to California and that it is our responsibility to help them make this transition a successful one.


President Michael Beals addresses the crowd

President Michael Beals next addressed the crowd, explaining that he’s been surrounded by veterans all his life, including his own father, and that their stories of service helped shape his respect for those who served.  He emphasized the need to create a safe space for veterans, citing how trips to the Mohave Desert served as that place for his family members, who helped each other to heal.  For Beals, the Veterans Resource Center here at Vanguard University is that safe place for student veterans to heal as they make the transition to their vocational calling here at home.

Keynote speaker Dr. Bill Peters, author of First Force Recon Company: Sunrise at Midnight, recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and many others, talked about the wounds of war and how they don’t always go away with time.  In a refreshingly candid speech, he recounted some of his war stories, emphasizing how difficult the transition into civilian life is for so many and how helpful it would have been to have had a place like the Veterans Resource Center at Vanguard in his own transition.

Peters also talked about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), explaining that it took him 35 years to realize it was real and had affected him and so many of his comrades.  “It is difficult in identifying it and doing something about it is really God’s heart.”  Peters ended by commending Vanguard for its willingness “to nurture and to develop that which will really heal our veterans.”

Vanguard University fully yellow ribbon veteran program

Adrian Michael receiving his award

A special recognition was given to Vanguard alumnus, Adrian Michael, who worked for four years as a volunteer leader with the Student Veterans Club at Vanguard University.  A non-veteran, Adrian dedicated his spare time to serving those who he feels so strongly deserve all of our love and attention.  After receiving the award, Michael thanked everyone, and said, “To student veterans, I want to tell you that I love you so much.  You have given me such hope and joy to know that I can make a difference.  To non-veterans, defend them at all costs.  Remind them of their value and that they’re loved.”


Vanguard University Jazz Ensemble

The ceremony ended with the Service Medley, played by the Vanguard Jazz Ensemble.  The sound of the crowd’s applause as veterans stood for each Branch of the Military’s melody was a battle cry for those of us who have not served in the military.  Unlike the price God paid for our salvation – a price that cannot be repaid – we can repay our veterans by equipping them with the educational tools they need to become the men and women God designed them to be.

For information on how you can get involved, click here.


Lady Lions Featured in Multiple Articles for Big Wins

Lions_headSuccess on the road and at home, Vanguard University’s Lions dominate the court and the field.

The lady Lions volleyball, basketball and soccer teams received recognition locally and nationally for their victories. In a five set match with a final game of 15-10, No. 10 Lions volleyball defeated the No. 2 Concordia University Eagles giving the Eagles their first Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) loss in three years. Vanguard’s women’s basketball defeated UC Santa Barbara’s NCAA Division 1 team with a final score of 69-66. And VU’s women’s soccer beat Biola in the first round of the GSAC tournament 1-0.

“It’s a wall!” Teammates yelled after another block shut down the Concordia offense at the Nov. 5 Vanguard volleyball match. Vanguard ended the five-set match with 14 blocks to Concordia’s three. Scores were 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 21-25 and 15-10.  After defeating the No. 2 team in the nation, Vanguard volleyball Coach Eryn Leja said: “I am just so proud of this team… Watching our team’s heart come through tonight’s match was priceless.” To read the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) article, click here.

On the road, Vanguard’s women’s basketball competed against four different NCAA D1 teams and won the final game verses UC Santa Barbara 69-66. Senior Nicole Ballestero, an All-American and NAIA Player of the Year candidate, said: “I am proud of the way we competed these past four games and I am really excited for what this team is going to do this year.” To read the NAIA’s article, click here. To read the Daily Pilot’s write-up about Ballestero, click here.

Also on Nov. 5, Vanguard’s women’s soccer team defeated the Biola Eagles with a final score of 1-0. Defender, sophomore Ashley McCutcheon headed the ball into the goal off of a corner kick from Jennifer Martin. Junior Martin, senior Kayla Arenas and senior Jordan Davidson were all selected for the 2013 All-GSAC team. Davidson has also been selected as GSAC Co-Player of the Year. To read the Daily Pilot’s article, click here.

To learn more about Vanguard University’s athletics, visit the athletics website at vanguardlions.com.

Lions’ Soccer Teams Win First Senior Games on New Field

IMG_4075On Oct. 30, Vanguard University’s men’s and women’s soccer teams beat the San Diego Christian Hawks for the first senior games on the new home field.

The green turf glistened in the sunshine as players hustled up and down the new field. A recent partnership between Vanguard University and a local soccer club resulted in the brand new field. Completed in October, the field hosted its first home games a couple of weeks before the senior games.

Defeating the Hawks with final scores of 2-1 for the men and 2-0 for the women, the Lions claimed their new turf. Winning on the new field was a great way for the seniors to finish their Vanguard soccer careers and for the other players to start this new chapter for Vanguard soccer.

Before each game, teams presented and honored their seniors. The men’s team’s four seniors are Andrew Sullivan, Bryan Ponce, Brandon Antonissen and Josh Banta. The women’s five seniors are Sarah Warner, Megan Hill, Paige Sikes, Jordan Davidson and Kayla Arenas.

To read more about the men’s game, click here, and for the women’s game, here.


Lady Lions Basketball Ranked No. 1 in the Country for NAIA Div. 1

doucetteuclaStarting the season on top, Vanguard University’s women’s basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Div. 1 poll.

On Thursday, the Lions began pre-season with an exhibition game verses UCLA, an NCAA D1 school. The Lions battled the D1 team finishing the game with 57 points to the Bruins’ 66 points.

Continuing the pre-season games, the Lions will play Cal, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara. Cal and Stanford are in the top-10 of the country’s highest collegiate level.

To view the women’s basketball schedule, click here.

To read the write-up from Thursday’s game, click here.

Students Serve City by Participating in Annual Homeless Count

HomelessnessEarly in the morning on Oct. 17, Vanguard University students spread across Costa Mesa to count the number of homeless individuals for the annual homeless census.

Starting at Costa Mesa City Hall, Vanguard students and other adults from the community split into groups and dispersed into the city. Groups walked up and down the streets in their square mile sections recording the number of homeless individuals they found.

The combined counts from each section amounted to 109 individuals. With a margin of plus or minus five, this year’s count showed a slight decrease from previous years, which have hovered around 120 homeless people.

Since 2009, Vanguard University Sociology Professor Ed Clarke, Ph.D., has organized the annual homeless censuses. “We cover all the city. Every inch, I hope, is observed,” Dr. Clarke said in an Orange County Register article about the count.

To read the Orange County Register’s article about the count, click here.