Vanguard Alum Nicole Suydam Named One of OC Metro’s 40 Under 40

Vanguard University Alumni Nicole Suydam ‘95 has been named one of OC Metro’s 40 Under 40 for her work as Vice President of Development at Goodwill of Orange County.

Suydam, 37, has helped Goodwill of Orange County increase charitable contributions for the past two years despite a recession that has resulted in much decline in the area of philanthropy. Because of Suydam’s hard work and innovative ideas, she led the way in changing the fundraising strategy to focus on contributions from individuals and focusing on raising more community awareness through The Real Goodwill, the nonprofit’s one-hour introductory tour.

For the duration of her eight years as vice president, Suydam has tripled major gift revenue, expanded Goodwill’s estate and legacy giving program, and led the $7 million fundraising campaign to create the Goodwill Fitness Center in order to allow people with disabilities to actively stay healthy.

Suydam was also recognized by OC Metro Magazine as one of “The Hottest 25 People in Orange County” and she has been featured by the Nonprofit Times as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Nonprofit Fundraisers Under the Age of 40.” Vanguard University awarded her the Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2006.

Suydam is also currently a member of the Orange County Business Council, where she works with members looking to hire employees with disabilities and utilizes Goodwill’s business services.

“I enjoy leading teams and empowering others to discover their best talents and abilities,” Suydam said in a recent interview with OC Metro.

For further information on Suydam, or to read the OC Metro article on the 40 under 40, please visit here.

Vanguard Alum Tricia Lamb Takes Pay Cut to Fund Science Lab in Costa Mesa

Vanguard University alumni Tricia Lamb is taking a nearly $35,000 pay cut in order to keep the highly lauded science program at Kaiser Elementary School in Costa Mesa.

Lamb, who graduated with her Masters Degree in Elementary Education and attained her teaching credential from Vanguard, is one of two specialized teachers in Kaiser’s science program that has been around for 14 years, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor that has allotted $150,000 per year. The trouble is that that donation ends after this year, and since that money covered Lamb’s position and field trips, she was presented with a tough decision to either return to conventional classroom teaching at her current salary or take a huge pay cut to keep Kaiser’s much celebrated science program alive.

Because Lamb has grown to love both her position and the lab she has operated in, she knew she had to make a tough decision that defied logic. She has agreed to work at 60% of her normal salary of $84,701, resulting in a salary of $50,821, for the next school year in order to keep the science program alive—and for good reason too. Kaiser’s science program has allowed its students to consistently outperform their counterparts throughout the sate by more than ten percentage points despite the fact that 39 percent of Kaiser students come from families who are classified as socio-economically disadvantaged, 18 percent are considered English language learners, and 12 percent have learning disabilities.

“I realized that the way I can give back to my community is by reducing my contract for a year,” Lamb said in a recent interview with the Orange County Register. “During times like this, when everyone is struggling and cuts are being made, schools can be successful if the community works together.”

Lamb’s sacrifice will be sure to not only benefit her school, but her entire community, and she could not be happier with her decision.

“I’m a great believer in finding out what your passion is. To me, life is about what makes you happy. And in my science lab is where I’m happiest.”

For further information on Tricia Lamb and to see the article written about her by the Orange County Register, please visit here.

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 info@vusife.org or visit vusife.org

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.