Vanguard University SIFE Team Named Regional Co-Champions

The Vanguard University of Southern California Students in Free Enterprise team was named co-regional champion at the SIFE USA Regional Competition held on March 28th in Orange County, California. The event is one of 12 SIFE USA Regional Competitions held across the United States in March and April.

“We stood strong against some tough competition this year,” said Student President Kendra Harden, “however, our determination and positive spirit came through. Our presentation was complete with Kirkpatrick’s 5 levels of evaluation. I’m also overwhelmingly proud of our competition team, advisors and our team advisor, Bonni Stachowiak, for all of their contributions.”

Vanguard University is one of nearly 600 programs in the United States. Participating students use business concepts to develop community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

During this academic year, the Vanguard University SIFE team organized numerous projects in Costa Mesa and abroad, including the 3rd Annual Environmental Sustainability Conference, which advocated for a more sustainable tomorrow, the VITA Tax assistance program, which allowed easy tax assistance to the local community and Working Wardrobes, which helped clothe and educate the less fortunate.

The culmination of the SIFE program is an annual series of competitions that provide a forum for teams to present the results of their projects and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. Teams compete first at the regional and national levels, then at the international level when the national champion teams from each country meet at the SIFE World Cup.
As a SIFE USA regional champion, Vanguard University SIFE team now advances to the 2011 SIFE USA National Exposition May 10-12 in Minneapolis.

Students in Free Enterprise is an international nonprofit organization that brings together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Founded in 1975, SIFE has active programs on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in 39 countries. Through projects that improve the lives of people worldwide, the university students, academic professionals and industry leaders who participate in SIFE are demonstrating that individuals with a knowledge and passion for business can be a powerful force for change.

For more information contact Bonni Stachowiak of Vanguard University SIFE at or visit

Vanguard Graduate Lynn Walker’s Amazing Story

Lynn Walker is a Vanguard University student who is graduating from the School for Professional Studies (SPS) program on May 6, but this is only a small portion of her life, as she has a story unlike any other. At Vanguard, Walker is more than just a student, she is a collegiate athlete, a friend to many, and an inspiration to the entire community.

Walker, 50, was born in Camden, New Jersey as an only child and has been playing tennis since the age of 12, which led to her eventually being a four-year #1 singles player at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderhill, Florida. However, during her senior year, Walker’s father died and she made the tough decision to put her dream of college on hold. After her mother passed away several years later, Walker went through a period of self-reflection where she came to the realization that she was missing something dear to her: a college degree. She decided to go to Santiago Canyon College in Orange from 2006-2008, and then eventually decided to pursue her Bachelor’s degree at Vanguard University.

While at Vanguard, Walker talked to tennis coach Mattias Johansson and eventually earned a spot on the highly successful and nationally recognized women’s tennis team. She was thrilled to receive the opportunity to play tennis as a 50-year-old student-athlete, where she was quite successful on the court, while in conjunction with fulfilling her dream of receiving a college degree. However, her story was about to take an even more dramatic turn.

Walker was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer during her time at Vanguard that brought her world crashing down. She was told she had a 30% chance of losing her leg due to a tumor that had grown inside and things were not looking good.

Due to only what can only be described as a miracle, Walker survived the surgery to remove the tumor with both legs in tact, and was told a short while later that she was cancer-free. To add to it all, she came to find out from doctors that the large tumor in her leg had been there for several years, not just a short amount of time. “The realization that I played college tennis at my age, with a giant tumor in my calf, is an absolute testament to God’s grace.” says Walker.

All of this leads to this week, which will consist of all of Vanguard University’s commencement ceremonies. Walker, an SPS student, will be graduating on Friday, May 6, and will also attend Baccalaureate to spend time and make memories with the many friends she has accumulated through her time at Vanguard, especially her friends from the tennis team. When Vanguard found out Ms. Walker was currently in a wheelchair and unable to drive, they found her a driver so that she could attend both Baccalaureate and her SPS commencement.

“What Vanguard is doing not only promotes the integrity and character of the Vanguard administration, it, most importantly, glorifies God,” says Walker.

Vanguard is not only proud to call Lynn Walker an alum, but an inspiration to the entire community.

For further information on Vanguard University commencement, please visit here.

Vanguard University Commencement 2011

The Vanguard University Commencement ceremonies May 5-7 will mark the achievements of Vanguard’s graduating class of 2011 as over 500 graduates from the college, the school for professional studies and master’s degree programs celebrate with family and friends.

On Thursday, May 5, all graduating students are invited to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 7:30pm to celebrate Baccalaureate, where associate professor of political science Dr. Darren Guerra ’91 will be speaking.

On Friday, May 6, the Nursing Pinning ceremony will take place in Needham Chapel at 9:30am. At 7:30pm the Commencement ceremony for the Graduate Programs and School for Professional Studies will begin at Mariners Church in Irvine. Jill Reza ’96, an attorney who practices employment law and business litigation in Irvine, will be the Commencement speaker for the event.

Two student speakers will also present at this ceremony. The graduate student speaker is Kristel Miles who is graduating with her master’s degree in Leadership and Spirituality. Miles currently serves on the worship team at Rock Harbor and also plays an active role in launching their new campus in Huntington Beach. The SPS student speaker will be Marlena Smith will be graduating with a degree in psychology. Smith is part of the Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology and works for FedEx. Smith also volunteers at the New Hope crisis counseling center and advocates for continuing education for working adults.

On Saturday, May 7, at 9:30am at Mariners Church the traditional Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will feature Dr. Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, one of the best-selling books of all time, as the keynote speaker.

André Abrantes will also address the graduates as the chosen undergraduate student speaker for the ceremony. Abrantes, who was born and raised in Portugal, graduated from the Portuguese Assemblies of God Bible Institute with a Pastoral Leadership degree in 2005 and came to pursue his education in the Music Department at Vanguard with Dr. James Melton in 2008. Abrantes has worked as an International Student Advisor, worship leader, and worship coordinator throughout his time at Vanguard. This is a ticketed event, so please make sure you have your ticket for the ceremony.

On Friday, April 29, Vanguard also honored their graduating veterans with their first Veterans Challenge Coin ceremony that took place at 5:30pm in the Scott Courtyard on the campus of Vanguard University. Over 50 people attended this inaugural event to honor the veterans that have worked so diligently to accomplish their degree.

For further information on the Commencement Ceremonies, please visit here.

Dr. Rick Warren to Speak at Vanguard University’s Commencement

On Saturday, May 7, internationally renowned pastor, theologian, philanthropist and global strategist Dr. Rick Warren will be speaking at Vanguard University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.

As a pastor, Warren founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, which today has an evangelical congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and more than 300 community ministries for groups such as prisoners, CEO’s, addicts, single parents and those with HIV/AIDS. In a recent campaign that he led, Saddleback Church fed 42,000 homeless people with three meals a day for forty days.

Warren also leads a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries called the Purpose Driven Network of churches. To date, more than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to his weekly newsletter, the Ministry Toolbox. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.”

Warren, as a theologian, has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Judaism, the Evangelical Theological Society and numerous seminaries and universities. He has six books known for explaining complex theology in understandable ways that have been translated into more than 50 languages.

As a philanthropist, Warren and his wife, Kay, have given away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS, Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries, and the Global Peace Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

As a global strategist, Warren advises a multitude of leaders in the public, private and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit and numerous congresses around the world. TIME magazine named him one of “15 Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004” and in 2005 on of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

For further information on Rick Warren, please visit

Jill Reza to Speak at Vanguard University’s Graduate and SPS Commencement Ceremony

On Friday, May 6, Vanguard alum Jill Reza ’96 will be the commencement speaker at the Graduate and School for Professional Studies (SPS) commencement ceremony at 7:30pm at Mariners Church.

Reza received her bachelor’s degree through the SPS program at Vanguard before attending and graduating from USC School of Law, where she also served as the executive editor of the Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies. Currently, Reza is an attorney who practices employment law and business litigation in Irvine, California, while also counseling numerous companies and organizations in the areas of organizational human resources and general employment law.

Her legal career began at Irell & Manella LLP’s Newport Beach office, where she practiced general litigation and corporate reorganization, before later being recruited by the law firm, Carlton DiSante & Fruedenberger LLP, to practice and litigate all aspects of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, traditional labor law, trade secrets, wage-and-hour law and class action defense.

In addition to her legal career, Reza has taken on a passion for teaching at the undergraduate level. She is an adjunct professor at Vanguard, where she designed and authored the undergraduate law courses Legal Aspects of the Business Process in 2004 and Business Law in 2008. In 2005 she also began teaching at Whittier Law School, where she teaches upper level writing classes, as well as employment Law, Labor Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Estate Planning. Reza also spent a summer in Nanjing, China, teaching International and Comparative Employment Law to Chinese and American Students at Nanjing University.

For further information on Jill Reza, please visit here. For further information on the Vanguard University Commencement Ceremonies, please see here.