Serving at Sea, One Vanguard Alumna’s Family Offers Hope and Healing Along the Coast of West Africa

60 minutes reports on Vanguard alumna for Mercy shipFirst imagine life on a ship. Then imagine life in a hospital. Now combine the two and you have the life of one Vanguard University Alumna’s family.

Featured on CBS News 60 Minutes Overtime, Vanguard Alumna Susan Parker ’82, her husband Gary, and their two children, Carys and Wesley, live aboard the Africa Mercy ship, a vessel of medical hope. Mercy Ships is an organization that provides free medical services, such as surgeries, dental treatment and consultations, to the poorest of the poor around the world.

For the past 27 years, Gary Parker has worked as a maxillofacial surgeon on this floating hospital, which sails around the coast of West Africa providing medical assistance to a very grateful people. Gary and Susan met, married and started a family while working on the ship. Their children have lived their entire lives at sea.

Being a family that places the needs of others before their own, the Parkers thrive aboard this ship. The Parker children are praised for their loving hearts that have embraced this journey and play a vital role in the rehabilitation of patients that come on the ship for medical attention. They, alongside their parents, bring healing to the broken people onboard through physical, mental and spiritual repair.

Commenting on the struggles and uncertainty she has experienced raising a family at sea, Susan said there was a point in which she resolved: “This is my destiny.” Each member of this family contains a heart of service that propels them to continue giving and trusting that they are walking in their calling.

To watch some of the clips from the 60 Minutes Overtime show, click here.

A Vanguard English Professor’s Original Work Will Plumb the Depths of Human Minds and Hearts on the Lyceum Stage Starting Friday, March 1

Vanguard University's Theatre Department host Development dramaVanguard University’s highly acclaimed and award-winning Department of Theatre Arts presents Development. Written by Warren Doody, a Vanguard University English professor who teaches courses in playwriting, screenwriting, and Shakespeare, this original work will be presented on March 1 through March 10, 2013 in the Vanguard Lyceum Theater.

The story of Development draws audiences into an isolated medical clinic in the Mojave Desert, where a dying man is visited by the two sons he abandoned, twenty years earlier. This reunion proves more Pandora’s Box than reconciliation, releasing a lineage of madness and mayhem, with only the slimmest chance at redemption. Through the lens of theatre, Development reveals the nature and tragedy of schizophrenia, its secrets and symptoms, and the potentially healing powers of family.

“In my preliminary discussions with Susan Berkompas, Chair of the Theater Arts Department who had asked me to write a play about mental illness in 2009, she suggested that the script be focused on a family, rightly contending that a ‘disease of the mind’ carries consequences for every one of its members,” says Doody, in describing the genesis of this project. “However, given the stigmas attached, it’s an issue that is often swept under the proverbial rug and hidden from public view. Development is the result of those early talks: a contemporary drama, steeped in the tenets of Greek tragedy, designed to enlighten and educate and hold a mirror up to the shadowy world of mental illness.”

Performance dates and times are March 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 8:00 pm; and March 2, 9 and 10 at 2:00 pm.

All shows are presented on the campus of Vanguard University, in the Lyceum Theater. Ticket prices are $14 for general admission and $12 for seniors, children, groups and college students. Tickets may be purchased at www.vanguardtickets.com or by calling the Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145.

For additional information about the Theatre Department visit vanguard.edu/theatre.

Junior Senior Banquet Revealed on Monday Night, February 25, after Classes Battled on Heath Lawn

Vanguard University clash of classesBattle lines formed Monday night, February 25, when the junior and senior classes faced off on the slippery, wet grass of Heath Lawn in preparation for the reveal of the Junior Senior Banquet’s date, theme and venue.

Drumroll please…on April 5 at 7:00 p.m., the Junior Senior Banquet (JSB) will take flight with the theme of “Flying to the Moon” at the Turnip Rose venue. The big reveal came through a classy video with music fit for the theme and the 50-60 students in attendance gave shouts of approval at its conclusion.

Before the reveal, the event had a very different mood as the “Clash of the Classes” kicked off with a classic schoolyard game: dodge ball. Junior Vasili Brasinikas detailed the event’s lineup having various games of junior guys combatting senior guys and then junior girls battling senior girls. When asked whom he believed the final victors were, Brasinikas answered, with a hint of bias, “the juniors.”

With an ice cream truck serving ice cream sandwiches made from various flavors squished between students’ cookies of choice, the night was bound for greatness. “There was a fun game, free ice cream, it doesn’t get much better,” Brasinikas said.

The senior class activities director, Anjolie Phillips, planned and coordinated the event with the help of various Student Government Association members and other students. Commenting on the dodge ball games, Phillips said with a smile: “we had a lot of people out there playing their hearts out.” When detailing their goal in creating a fun event for the top-secret reveal, Phillips said she considered the turnout and overall event a success.

To watch the JSB reveal video, click here.

Vanguard University to Host Annual Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 2

Bring your snapping fingers to the Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 2, where school student groups from Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as Vanguard University’s own Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo will jive the day away.

What better way for a Christian university to have a day of celebrating the gift of music than hosting a jazz festival? Vanguard University invites bands, combos and individuals to register and come to this special event. Attendees will enjoy performances, clinics, workshops, a concert by VU’s Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Festival’s Professional Adjudicators, and more.

Top groups and individuals will receive awards in various categories including best overall group performance, best solo, and more, the Coordinator of Music Events and Concert Operations, Luke Baumgartner, said. Having been a part of the festival in past years, Baumgartner looks forward to this unique opportunity for people to come together and just have enjoy playing the music they love.

The competition also gives performers a chance to be selected to take part in the Vanguard Honors Jazz Band, which will perform at the closing concert. The selected students will play along side other accomplished musicians of their own caliber as well as the Jazz Festival Adjudicators and the Vanguard Jazz Ensemble.

The Jazz Festival Adjudicators are comprised of top professional Christian musicians in the business. Adjudicators include Dave Stone, instructing the rhythm sectional; Josh Welchez, instructing the brass sectional; and Vince Hizon, instructing the sax/woodwinds sectional. The Director of Vanguard University’s award winning Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo, Dr. Kenneth R. Foerch, will be adjudicating as well.

Not only can student groups share their ensemble’s pieces with fellow attendees on a collegiate stage, at this year’s event they can join in the festival’s newly added feature: The Jazz Jam Session. This expression session invites performers to get creative and join with the VU Jazz Combo for improvisation, sight-reading and fun.

“Improv is probably one of the hardest things to master,” Baumgartner said. This special session gives students a chance to begin strengthening their improvisational skills, which are crucial in thriving as a jazz musician, he said. The Jazz Jam Session is an opportunity to jive and jam together and is open to anyone, parents included, he added.

The festival provides student groups from grades six through twelve “an opportunity to perform at a college venue, hear other Christian student groups, and the opportunity to learn more about Vanguard’s renowned Department of Music,” Dr. Foerch said in his letter to student groups.

For more information on registration and costs, click here.

Director of Vanguard’s Global Center for Women & Justice speaks at The Justice Conference, featured in Christian Post

Christian school Vanguard University sex trafficking expert quoted in Christian Post

Sandie Morgan, director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice presented  at the Justice Conference last week in Philadelphia, PA.  The conference, which created dialogue around justice related issues such as human trafficking and slavery, was held last Friday through Sunday.

During the conference, Morgan was interviewed by Napp Nazworth at the Christian Post.  In the article, Morgan discusses the three “P’s” of fighting sex trafficking: prevention, protection, and prosecution.