Vanguard University Professor Kristen Howerton speaks at TEDx ChapmanU Conference

Vanguard University Professor Kristen Howerton at TEDx ChapmanU conference

Photo by TEDx ChapmanU

Kristen Howerton is a psychology professor at Vanguard University; a marriage and family therapist; the author of well-known blog, Rage Against the Minivan; and a social media aficionado. She contributes to several online publications and print magazines including the Huffington Post and OC Family.

Kristen was invited to speak at this year’s TEDx ChapmanU conference, an independently organized TED event, which occurred on Tuesday, June 4. At the conference, she spoke about the benefits and dangers of social media in today’s technology-centered world.

“We’ve found diversions for ourselves that become central, that can keep us from reaching our goals or connecting with other people,” she said about the costs of technology. “We value the distraction over relationships and it causes us to put our lives on hold… Our life is not in [our phone]; it’s out here. It’s not online.”

Watch a video recording of Kristen’s speech below.

Vanguard University Local Outreach Prepares for City Serve 2013

Mark your calendars for City Serve 2013! This fall, Vanguard University’s annual community service project will take place on Saturday, September 14th.

Vanguard University City Serve community service This September, Vanguard students will be working with local churches, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to complete service projects throughout Orange County like painting and repairs, playing with youth, and visiting local senior citizen centers.

Students will be divided into service teams assigned by dorm halls and will spread out around the community to participate in a variety of service projects for the purpose of blessing and loving our neighbors. The goal of the event is two-fold: to expose Vanguard students to the needs around the community and to foster relationships that will help students, faculty, and staff to participate in continued service. This 1-day event is merely an introduction to the vast amount of service opportunities around Orange County.

This year, Vanguard University’s Outreach ministries is ramping up their involvement with Alumni and asking graduates of Vanguard to participate in service projects in their own communities on the same day as the undergraduate City Serve event. Vanguard’s Outreach ministries is excited for City Serve 2013 and can’t wait to share more information with incoming and returning Vanguard students. Check back later this summer for more details on how to sign up, and watch the video below to see a recap of City Serve 2012!

For more information, please visit:
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City Serve 2012 Recap from Vanguard University on Vimeo.

Vanguard University Student Teams Make an Impact in China

Liberal Studies major Anna Hernandez said it, almost as a joke: “I want to go to China.” But the more she said it out loud, the more the thought seemed to stick with her.

She had wanted to teach English in China since her freshman year at Vanguard University, but the idea had been placed on the backburner as she studied, worked, and spent her summers at home. During her junior year, however, an opportunity to take the trip appeared. “I was late to apply,” Anna said about the application process, “but every door opened for me to go. Every one. It felt like God wanted me to go.”

Vanguard University has sent teaching teams to China each year since 2004. This year, Dr. Mike Wilson, associate provost and dean of the college, led the trip.

Dr. Wilson first came to China in 1984 where he was an Instructor at Jiangxi Agricultural University for two years. After spending an additional year in Hong Kong, he returned to the States and came to Vanguard, where he currently teaches Chinese History. This summer was his fourth time leading the Vanguard Teaching Team.

The trip to China was the first outreach trip of the summer and started only three days after the spring semester ended. A total of eight students on the Vanguard Teaching Team packed their belongings during finals week in order to fly out of the country on May 12. For Anna, packing in such a short timeframe was hard, but it was even harder to leave the country on Mother’s Day. Still, sacrificing in order to help others was well worth it.

Dr. Mike Wilson of Vanguard University teaches cultural differences in dining etiquette to Chinese students

Dr. Mike Wilson teaching cultural differences in dining etiquette to Chinese students

The students boarded a plane to Shanghai and then another to Beijing. Once landed, the team spent three days in Beijing to tour the area. Dr. Wilson said these days of touring gave the students “a chance to acclimate to the culture and bond as a team.” After a pit stop in Beijing, the team took another flight to Xi’an and then a bus to Hanzhong. All together, the flights and bus ride amounted to nearly 21 hours of travel time.

Once in Hanzhong, the Vanguard Teaching Team spent ten days teaching English to non-English majors at Shaanxi University of Technology. The team lectured in classrooms, gave demonstrations, and spent time developing relationships with many of the Chinese students. “It’s always amazing to me how quickly we can connect in the span of a week,” Dr. Wilson said of the cross-cultural friendships that were made on the trip. “We felt really close to a lot of [Chinese] students who helped us.” Anna was humbled to see God’s love for people, and His desire for us to build relationships with others.

Anna Hernandez from the Vanguard Teaching Team with a group of Chinese students

Anna, center, with a group of Chinese students

Before the trip, Dr. Wilson hoped that his team of students would have their minds broadened by their experiences in China. Anna had a similar wish: the desire to see God’s hand at work in a different culture. Both of these dreams were fulfilled. Dr. Wilson recalls that during group debriefs, each student shared incredible stories of God at work in China. In one such debrief, a student turned to Dr. Wilson and said, “I see why you keep coming back.”

At the end of the trip, Dr. Wilson was glad to see that the team had become “extremely bonded.” The group’s only complaint about the trip was that it was far too short.

“I want to go back,” said Anna when asked if she would consider taking another trip to China. “I would definitely recommend students to take a missions trip if they can. [They] don’t even have to go very far.” Even reaching out to a community in one’s own country is a great way to be a model for Christ.

Vanguard China Teaching Team 2013 at the Great Wall

Vanguard China Teaching Team 2013 at the Great Wall

Each summer, Vanguard University Global Outreach sends several groups of students to countries all over the globe in order to “lead the Vanguard community to deeply value and relentlessly pursue a life of faith in action.” This summer, a total of eleven teams will be given an opportunity to live that mission out internationally. Besides China, other countries the teams will visit are Tanzania, Peru, Mozambique, the Middle East, Ireland, Honduras, Fiji, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic/Haiti, and Australia. For more information, visit:

Join Us in Looking Back at 2013-2013 – A Year to Remember at Vanguard University!

It’s hard to believe summer is upon us already and another year has flown by.  As we look back at a year that will go down in Vanguard history as one full of growth in so many ways, some of the highlights echoing living a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership shine through:

* We welcomed our largest incoming class in the history of the University

* Opportunities to serve our community and our global neighbors were created and cultivated

* Our academic profile and ethnic diversity improved

* Partnerships with like-minded organizations that advance our hands-on learning were forged

Please take a moment to see for yourself how God has blessed this campus and community in abundance.


Arlene Hutton’s Quintessential Love Story, Last Train to Nibroc, Makes Three-week Stop at Vanguard University

Vanguard University theatre department

Vanguard University actors

Last Train to Nibroc carries Vanguard University alumni and a powerful message of acceptance and friendship

Vanguard University’s highly acclaimed and award-winning department of theatre arts presents Last Train to Nibroc opening on May 31 and running through June 16, 2013 in the Vanguard Lyceum Theater.

Set in the 1940s, Last Train to Nibroc tells the story of Raleigh and May, two strangers who meet on a cross country train during World War II (WWII).  This funny and touching tale of an unlikely romance follows the two as they search for their own happiness.  Two favorite Vanguard theatre alumni – Ryan Miller and Heaven Peabody – will return to the Lyceum stage to portray Raleigh and May.

“I cannot remember the last time I was so instantly enchanted by two characters from a first read,” says Sasha Stewart, director and Vanguard theatre alumna.  “Their story is one of acceptance and friendship; simple concepts yet powerful ones when told by the right people.  Raleigh and May are those right people.”

Stewart’s passion for this story comes to life on the stage.  Characterizing the story of Raleigh and May as a unique one, Stewart points out how rare it is for a play to lack an antagonist and how that dynamic leaves audience members rooting for both sides.  Stewart adds that what resonated to her is that while May and Raleigh are hard workers, they are also risk takers, and dreamers, with struggles that are tangible and sincerity that is infectious.

“I have been nothing short of humbled each time I have had a hand in presenting this very relevant and poignant story,” continues Stewart.  “Those seeing this show for the first time are about to journey into the lives of two very honest individuals living in an endearing time period, discovering what their own lives need to be. I envy them the trip.”

Performance dates and times are May 31, June 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 8:00 pm and June 2, 9 and 16 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 by clicking here or by calling the Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145.

For additional information about the Theatre Department click here.