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.

Vanguard University Sociologist Presents Key Findings to Improve Quality of Life of Homeless in Costa Mesa

Vanguard University Professor fights homelessness

Professor Ed Clarke discusses findings from         YOU Count


Remember the popular 80’s song by Phil Collins called Another Day in Paradise? (If you’re too young to remember, you can likely hear it on the oldies station.) It addresses the unfortunate reality of how most people deal with the homeless population: we don’t. Or if we do, we don’t know how to help in a way that is effective or useful.

Thankfully, there are people who not only care about the homeless in theory, but are also taking the initiative to do something to help them and impact the quality of their lives for the better.

Vanguard University and churches consortium reveal findings on homelessness in Costa Mesa

Becks Heyhoe from the Church’s Consortium discusses homeless findings from YOU Count

One of those people is Dr. Ed Clarke, sociology professor at Vanguard University. Dr. Clarke, in collaboration with the Churches Consortium, presented data on findings from what is called the YOU Count initiative from last October. The findings were largely based on interviews that Vanguard University students and other volunteers used to better understand the needs of the homeless in Costa Mesa with the goal of providing useful assistance and improving conditions.

But the interviews weren’t the beginning of this initiative, nor will they be the end.  Dr. Clarke has been involved in studying the homeless with the purpose of improving conditions since 2008. In fact, the work he’s done began as a study he implemented on homeless mothers. From there, he focused on accumulating valid and reliable data and developed a system for future research. In 2011, Dr. Clarke set his sights on rapid rehousing and homeless prevention with the end goal of replacing temporary and emergency shelters with permanent supportive housing. His work has assisted government agencies such as the Homeless Management and Information System (HMIS) in improving the collection methodology used for the enumeration performed every three years.

Dr. Clarke has been highly successful in mentoring his students to develop a repertoire of knowledge in social theory and research methods and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom through experiential learning by doing, which, in turn, results in deeper learning.

So what are some next steps?  Housing!  Yes, you read correctly.  Providing housing is the ultimate goal.  To get there, Dr.  Clarke and his team are working toward an integrated model of data management so that the chasm between perceived needs and actual needs is bridged.  The hope is that the work the team is doing here in Costa Mesa will serve as a useful model for other cities to adopt to ultimately eliminate homelessness.

homessless initiative YOU count led by Vanguard University professor

Active audience members listen intently to findings on homelessness in Costa Mesa

So….what can you do to help in the meantime? Get involved! Click here for more information on how you can get make a difference.
Click here to see the recent article in the Daily Pilot about YOU Count.


Vanguard University Professor’s World War II (WWII) Documentary to Air on National Geographic Channel May 31, 2013

Inside World War IIIt’s not every day that students can boast that their professor is an accomplished, professional film editor.

Aaron Daniel Annas’s students can.

On Friday, May 31, 2013 at 7PM ET/PT,  Inside World War II, a documentary for which Annas has three credits – Associate Editor/SFX Design, Finishing Editor, and Sound Effects Editor – will air on National Geographic Channel.  According to the National Geographic, which has posted a trailer on YouTube, Inside World War II is a three-hour television event that provides a detailed visual timeline of the complex war, with personal, in-depth stories from veterans who fought in the deadliest conflict in human history. Inside World War II is the intimate story of the last global war, told by the survivors — those who endured the front line’s bloody conflicts. Those who witnessed the brutality of combat give their unfiltered accounts. Included in the interviews are former prisoner of war and “Slaughterhouse-Five” author Kurt Vonnegut and the grandson of legendary general George S. Patton.

As an assistant professor of Cinema Arts who teaches courses in the communications department at Vanguard University, Annas brings a rich array of professional experience to the academic table.  In addition to Inside World War II, Annas has been assistant editor on Great Lake Warriors (The History Channel) and editor of Parole Diaries (TVOne), in addition to many other films and projects.

Of all the shows he’s worked on, Annas says he is most proud of his work on Inside World War II.  “This documentary had a huge team and tons of footage, including actual footage of WWII,” said Annas.  “Because there were no sound recordings back then, we  had to find  sound sources for all the footage.  So the families who provided footage will be seeing the documentary for the first time.”

For more information, click here.

Two out of Five Educators Voted “Teachers of the Year” for 2014 are Vanguard University Alumni

Vanguard Alumni are Teachers of the Year

Photography credit to Glen Andersen for the Register

It likely began as an ordinary day for Vanguard University alumni, Glen Warren ’85 of the Orange Unified School District, and Scott Bedley ’93 of the Irvine Unified School District.  But it didn’t end up ordinary.  Last Wednesday, both men were notified in person by the “prize patrol” of their status as final “Teachers of the Year” for the 2014 school year.  This year, 56 educators in Orange County, CA were nominated.

The Orange County Teachers of the Year (TOTY) program provides recognition for outstanding teachers in Orange County. Each school district may nominate one to three teachers (depending on district size). Community colleges districts may each nominate one teacher per district.  The program was established in the 1970’s according to Kristin Rigby, who coordinates the TOTY program.

K-12 finalists from all over California are invited to represent the county in the California Teachers of the Year program which is hosted by the California Department of Education.  The winning teachers, who will receive a golden apple and $15,000, will be honored along with all candidates on October 25 at the Disneyland Hotel.

Congratulations to Glen and Scott for this well-deserved achievement.  Vanguard University will be rooting for you in the fall!  Click here to read more about this story.



2013 Vanguard University Graduates Walk with Faith, Grace and Hope at Commencement

Vanguard University graduates

Vanguard University Commencement 2013

On Friday, May 10, more than 500 Vanguard University graduates participated in the commencement ceremonies at Mariner’s Church.  Highlights include musical performances by the Vanguard University Jazz Ensemble’s, praise music led by Dr. James L. Melton, director and chair of the Department of Music at Vanguard.  Undergraduate student speaker, Lauren Minnick, who received her Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology, Graduate student speaker, Renée Juenger, who received her Master of Arts in Education, and School for Professional Studies (SPS) student LeRonica Bedford, who graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, regaled the commencement audiences with meaningful stories about their unique journeys to achieve their educational goals at Vanguard.

Scroll down to see the text of an article published by the OC Register covering the Vanguard undergraduate commencement ceremony.  OC Register subscribers, click here to view story online.


IRVINE Michelle McKinley graduated from high school in Bishop in Central California with the hopes of finding a small college that resonated with her Christian faith.

“I heard about Vanguard University through friends, so I decided to check it out,” she said. “I stepped on campus and it was like coming home.”

On Friday, Vanguard University of Southern California, a small Christian college in Costa Mesa, celebrated commencement ceremonies for more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students. The commencement featured gospel songs and prayers on the grounds of Mariners Church in Irvine.

McKinley, 21, managed to finish her studies within three years, with a major in religious studies and a concentration in youth leadership. She plans to become a youth pastor in Orange County, she said.

Many graduates, such as McKinley, said they chose Vanguard for its small, family-like atmosphere. The university has an enrollment of 2,200 and classrooms of usually no more than 17 students.

“It’s a very intimate environment where students really get one- on-one attention,” said Shana Martin, the university’s communications director. “Our students are always going out to lunch and coffee with their professors.”

The original college was founded as a small Pentecostal Bible school in Los Angeles in 1920. The college moved to its current location at 55 Fair Drive in 1950 and later gained university status in 1999.

Martin said the majority of students come from cities throughout California and most live on campus at least during their first year. Average annual tuition runs about $37,200, including room and board.

While Vanguard is a Pentecostal school, Martin said admission is open to students of all Christian denominations.

Undergraduates in their first year are required to sign a statement of faith declaring their beliefs as a Christian.

Some graduates go on to faith-based occupations, but most major in business or psychology and enter more corporate fields, Martin said.

“The idea is to give them that strong base in Christian faith and ethics so they can use that in whatever field they choose,” she said.

In his commencement speech, the Rev. L. John Bueno, a California pastor, spoke of his challenges running a school for impoverished children in El Salvador. Despite his struggles with funding, Bueno said he never gave up. He urged the new graduates to go out and make the world a better place and face challenges head on.

“Bring the hope of Jesus Christ to our world,” he said.

Following the ceremony, graduates symbolically moved their tassels from right to left and cheered.

Graduate Maree Drennan, 24, was recruited from her native Australia to play basketball for Vanguard three years ago. In that time, Drennan said she fell in love with the campus community.

“They really care about you here,” she said. “They invest in you as a person and not just an athlete.”