Events began on February 5 with an inaugural worship service. On February 6, Vanguard held two inaugural lectures, a VIP inaugural dinner and a student party. These special events brought together the Vanguard University community to celebrate with Dr. Beals as he would soon ceremonially accept his position as the university’s 10th president.
On February 7, Vanguard University held the inauguration ceremony at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Ringing in the 10 o’clock hour, Vanguard’s University Concert Orchestra played Dan Goeller’s arrangement of Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners. Following the orchestra, Vanguard’s University Concert Choir and Women’s Chorus sung the reprise of Allen Pote’s, Sing to the Lord a Jubilant Song.
With the church’s organ pipes glimmering in the window’s sunlight, the orchestra played William Walton’s Crown Imperial Coronation March, and the processional commenced. Family and friends led the processional followed by Vanguard’s past presidents, delegates from other universities, denominational leaders, the board of trustees, faculty and the program participants. Dr. Beals followed at the end of the line wearing his beloved smile as he made his way to the stage. Dr. Beals, along with Vanguard University’s faculty and the visiting delegates, were dressed in traditional academic regalia: a wide array of colored caps and gowns.
After a prayer and some greetings, everyone joined in a couple hymns of praise before Board of Trustees Chairman David Oddo, MBA stepped up to the podium. Oddo invited Dr. Beals to the stand and proceeded in giving him a presidential call followed by two symbols of office: a presidential medallion and a Bible from the faculty and staff.
Following the presentation of the presidential symbols of office, various community members presented commitments on behalf of the faculty, students, staff and alumni of Vanguard University. After the prayer of dedication, Dr. Richard Mouw, a professor and mentor of Dr. Beals while he attended Fuller Theological Seminary, gave the presidential charge. Dr. Mouw charged Dr. Beals to bless the Vanguard University community and commended him for being “a gifted intellectual leader” and “a wise administrator.”
After a final word of congratulations and an embrace between Dr. Mouw and Dr. Beals, professor Sheri Benvenuti, Ph.D., stepped to the podium to give the presidential introduction. Dr. Benvenuti described Dr. Beals’ humble, virtuous character and his heart for people. She said: “… he loves people more than power. And above all, he loves God more than anything.”
Now at the pinnacle of the ceremony, Dr. Beals came to the podium and gave his presidential address. To begin, Dr. Beals thanked the many attendees who hold places of influence and importance in his life. With beyond the horizon as the inauguration theme, Dr. Beals spoke of the history of Vanguard University that shaped and placed it in the position it stands today; ready to look “beyond the horizon.” “We are poised at the fulcrum of possibility,” he said.
Nearing the end of his speech, Dr. Beals said: “Beyond the horizon a voice is calling us to live out our unique identity.” Throughout his address, Dr. Beals detailed Vanguard University’s identity as a community of truth, service and academic excellence. Knowing this identity, Dr. Beals committed to uphold the character and calling of Vanguard University in his role as the University’s 10th president.
To learn more about Vanguard University’s new president, Dr. Michael Beals, click here.