Remembering Dr. Elizabeth Leonard

On May 18, Dr. Elizabeth Leonard passed away at her home in Ireland after a battle with cancer. Elizabeth taught at Vanguard University as a full-time faculty member in the department of Anthropology and Sociology for 14 years. Upon her retirement, Dr. Leonard was granted the status of Faculty Emerita.

Below is a letter from President Michael J. Beals regarding Dr. Leonard’s passing -

Dear Vanguard Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that beloved Vanguard professor Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard passed away on Sunday, May 18 in Ireland, her home since retiring from Vanguard.

Dr. Leonard taught at Vanguard University as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, serving as an Assistant Professor of Sociology from 1997 to 2002, and then as Associate Professor of Sociology from 2002 to 2007, and finally as Professor of Sociology from 2007 to 2011. She delivered and expanded the Sociology curriculum to include areas of specialization in gender and crime, the sociology of women, corrections, family violence and juvenile delinquency, and played in integral role in helping grow the Sociology major to one hundred majors.

Dr. Leonard sustained a robust research agenda during her tenure at Vanguard University, producing a book (Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Kill, State University of New York Press, 2002), four book chapters and nine articles in peer-reviewed journals. She was widely recognized as an expert on issues related to battered women in prison and domestic violence, and as such, was invited to present research, guest lecture, provide expert witness testimony, and give various public presentations on seventy different occasions, and in diverse institutional settings and locales in the United States and Europe.

She served Vanguard University faithfully by being a tireless leader and advocate of interdisciplinary collaboration, which included serving as the Co-Director of Vanguard University’s Center for Women’s Studies from 2002 to 2005. She advised, counseled, and mentored countless numbers of students who, upon graduating from Vanguard University, followed her example by pursing vocations that advance the public good.

Elizabeth was highly respected, admired and regarded by the students at Vanguard University, who voted her the Faculty Member of the Year for 1999-2000, and again as Faculty Member of the Year for 2006-2007. Over the years students have consistently expressed their affection for her and their appreciation of her guidance and support.

Upon her retirement, Dr. Leonard was granted the status of faculty emerita. Dr. Leonard was a devoted colleague and friend and will be greatly missed.

Please keep Dr. Leonard’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Serving with you,


In honor of legacy, we invite you to give a gift to the Elizabeth Dermody Leonard Memorial Fund! This fund will -

  • Establish a grant to fund media and arts that extend the reach and impact of her domestic violence research as depicted in Life Without Parole and Sin By Silence.
  • Expand the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University in the Vanguard University Library.
  • Launch an annual scholarship for a domestic violence survivor returning to complete a degree in Vanguard University School for Graduate Professional Studies.
  • Fund a research stipend for grad students pursuing research on family violence or violence against women.

Donations can be made here: www.vanguard.edu/leonardfund


In honor of her legacy, we invite you to give a gift to the Elizabeth Dermody Leonard Memorial Fund! Donations can be made here: www.vanguard.edu/leonardfund

Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University
(714) 966-6360 | gcwj@vanguard.edu


#vuValentine Winners



L-O-V-E is in the air! Special thank you to everyone who participated in Vanguard University’s first-ever #vuValentine contest!  We had over 165 people participate and share with us their Vanguard love story.

Here are our five winners:

Scott ’11 and Ashley (Brock ’10) Houstonscott&ashley

“It was Mike Beals’ “Foundations of Christian Living” class. I sat behind him and he would let photos run across his laptop screensaver of his high school football days and snowboarding trips. Of course the screen was always turned at just the right angle so that I had the best view of the images of him. I tease him about it now, but it obviously worked! 7 Years, an engagement, a wedding and one sweet little baby boy later, I still have the best view! Here’s to forever with my #vuvalentine. Thank you for introducing us, Vanguard University of Southern California.”

Tim ’12 and Korrie (Hansen ’05) Lukei 


“First comes Love, Then comes Marriage, then comes two sweet babies! 11 years ago today, Tim took me on our first date at the blue beet! Happy Valentines day! I’m proud to call you my #vuValentine! Love you!”






Garret ’92 and Lisa (Ferrario ’94) Northway

“Garrett and I met in Professor Ronald Wright’s Hermeneutics class Fall of 1989 and my first VU class. The picture I posted ended up being our Garrett&Lisaengagement picture as Garrett proposed during the winter formal just prior for the call for engaged couples to be announced officially. Obviously I said yes and during Christmas Break Garrett came to my hometown and properly asked both my father and stepfather permission to marry me. This year we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Our VU years were critical early family development years. They are rich in memories and experiences and we cherish them deeply.”




Nick and Brittany (Cromelin) Peterson ’10

Nick&Brittany“7.5 years ago my #vuvalentine walked into my life during Frontline week – we got engaged 6 years ago tomorrow on Valentine’s Day itself and now to think we have a Peterson addition on the way! Vanguard University of Southern California deserves many thanks for kindling this amazing relationship with Nick.”






Keith and Brittney (Riley) Tanaka ’10Keith&Brittney

 “Happy Valentine’s Day! ️I am so thankful I met my #vuValentine by the Cafe 6 years ago! We built amazing friendships at Vanguard University- 13 of them joined us on our wedding day. We are so proud to be Vanguard University Alumni.”






Thanks to all of our participants. We love our #vuValentines.  Click here to see photos of all of the participants.  Hope to see even more stories next year!


Homecoming 2015 Recap

Homecoming 2015 on January 28–31 featured MANY exciting events and familiar faces back on campus! It was a blessed time full of fellowship and opportunities for alumni to reconnect! It was great to see alumni, current students, families, faculty, and staff share their Vanguard stories while enjoying the many fun events happening during 2015 Homecoming weekend.

Alumni speakers and worship leaders were featured throughout the week’s Chapel services. Tuesday, January 27, kicked off with Faith (Wecker ’12) Dunsterville, Noah McKeown ’13, Brandi Becker ’10, Dustin Ginn ’10, Billy Pruden ’10-’12, Josh Schaffer, and Josh Taylor  leading the Vanguard community in worship. Our guest speaker for Tuesday’s chapel was Darren Rouanzoin ’06, pastor of The Garden Church in Long Beach. On Wednesday, January 28, worship was led by Tully Wilkinson ’13, Lauren Francis ’10, Jason Valverde ’10, Noah McKeown ’13, Tyler Spry ’15, and Omar Ahemd. Josh Harrison ’99, teaching pastor at ROCKHARBOR Church joined us as the guest speaker for the morning.

The last Homecoming Alumni Chapel took place on Thursday, January 29, and we were honored to meet and celebrate our Alumni Award Winners. Check out more about each of the award winners in this special Alumni Award Winners Article!

There is nothing like the energy that comes when current students and alumni are able to have a blast together. This year, the annual “VU’s Got Talent” show featured two special alumni acts and a panel of alumni judges. Be sure to check out In The Wilderness – a duo comprised of Jenny Payne ’11 and Jesse Hawkins ’12.




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Artists from the Vanguard community showed up on Friday night for a special Art Show hosted by Vanguard’s very own Professor Emeritus – Keith Ewing. Artists including alumni, parents of current students, current students, and many others displayed artwork in the Great Commission Hall/Heath Rotunda. Another highlight of the evening was the Student Photography Contest winners and participants that each had photos displayed in the show. Vanguard has some very talented photographers!

Saturday, January 31, was a big day here on Vanguard’s campus! Events went all day long, starting with the annual Run for Mercy 5K! This year, Vanguard alumni, students, faculty, staff and even the surrounding Vanguard community joined together to support The Brock Family. This past year, Laura fought a difficult lung disease known as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. In the midst of the fight, John began to reach out to his friends and family. As texts and phone calls became too overwhelming, he started a Facebook page that would share Laura’s updates. As Laura battled. her condition worsened, and following a double lung and heart transplant, her body could simply fight no more. Join with alumni, friends, and family as we support the Brock family and celebrate Laura’s legacy.

Brock Family

Run for Mercy was a huge success! There were over 70 volunteers, 350 runners, and $7,000+ raised! The Doyle family also made an appearance at this year’s 5K and Mercy provided her beloved artwork for the winners of the race! Upon finishing the 5K, participants were invited to a celebration for the Brock Family  in the Campus Mall. Blues Lyne, performed while people enjoyed a meet and greet with Brock family and a delicious, well-earned lunch from the In-N-Out Truck. People were able to visit one of the many Vendor Boots and kids played in the Kids Zone. Check out the pictures from Run for Mercy to see all of the smiling faces.

The Vanguard Men & Women’s Basketball teams challenged Master’s College in the Pit. Current students, alumni, and other Vanguard fans packed the place and cheered on both teams.

The ladies secured a victory of 72-58 , but the men fell behind in the fourth quarter to lose 70-65. The Vanguard Concert Choir sang the National Anthem, and the Alumni Upperdeck was open during halftime of both games. What an exciting night after such an exciting, fun-filled day! To read more about your favorite VU Lions sports teams, check out Vanguard Athletic News.

Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated this Homecoming Weekend with us. We hope you had a great time reconnecting with former classmates and had a chance to meet some new friends. We enjoyed meeting you too!

For photos from our exciting Homecoming weekend, check out the Vanguard University Alumni Facebook Page!

We look forward to seeing you next year at
Homecoming 2016!



Did you meet your Valentine at Vanguard University? Well, this fun contest is for all of our couples!
February 13-15, 2015
#VUValentine Contest
To participate:
1. Must be an engaged/married couple, who are both Vanguard Alumni.
2. Post your favorite couple photo on Instagram from February 13-15.
3. Tag the photo with @VanguardU and #VUValentine.
4. Fill out form at http://www.vanguard.edu/alumni/vuvalentine/

If you want your photo to be in the Class Notes of the next Vanguard Magazine, complete this form: www.vanguard.edu/vuvalentine

PRIZES will be awarded to (5) couples! Winners will be announced on February 17.

Hosted by VU Marketing & Communications and Vanguard University Alumni.

Chelsea Galusky
Social Media Specialist
(714) 966-5456 | socialmedia@vanguard.edu



Homecoming 2015 Sponsors

Special thanks to all of our Homecoming sponsors!

  • Donate California – nonprofit Organ and Tissue Donor Registry dedicated to saving the lives of thousands of Californians awaiting life-saving transplants.
  • Global Center for Women & Justice- Promotes gender reconciliation and the inherent dignity of all persons.  
  • In-n-Out Foundation- Since 1984, In-N-Out Burger has been helping abused and neglected children.
  • Kéan Coffee- Artisan Coffee House and Micro-roaster owned and operated by Martin and Karen Diedrich. 
  • Krochet Kids- Empowers people to rise above poverty.
  • Origami Owl Jewelry- Origami Owl is a leading custom jewelry company known for telling stories through our signature Living Lockets, personalized Charms, Bracelets and Earrings.
  • Positive Energy Drink- Strive to bring energy and positivity – and to support people who work hard to improve the lives of those around them.
  • Rock for Her- Rock for her is able to save you money and time while they do all the work to find you the perfect engagement ring within your budget.
  • Summit Funding- Summit Funding is a Residential Mortgage Bank built on Integrity, Trust, and Financial Stability.
  • Tosi Health- Simple. True. Health.
  • Vanguard Admissions- No matter your major or area of study, at Vanguard you’ll get the understanding you need in an environment designed to help you excel.
  • Vanguard Athletics- The Intercollegiate Athletic Program is dedicated to the holistic growth and development of all student athletes, teaching them to lead Christ-centered lives on and off the field of competition.
  • Vanguard Kinesiology- The program seeks to prepare competent, professionals through personalized education in the classroom, through research, and field-based experiences. 

Thank you for your support! We could not have done it without you.


Alumni Memories: Christmas Fantasia

I have many wonderful memories from my time in the Vanguard University choirs, but one of my favorites is Christmas Fantasia. I remember starting to sing Christmas tunes well before it was “socially acceptable” to listen to Christmas music – something I was totally fine with (my roommates on the other hand, well, they had their own thoughts).

I always joked that Christmas didn’t truly start until we started the grand finale of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” at the end of the night. And I still feel that way today. One of the great things about being a local alumni is that I’ve gotten to attend Christmas Fantasia over the years since I’ve graduated. I still get emotional when we open with a candlelit rendition of “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” I still laugh hysterically at the humor intertwined in the performance – a silly song sung by one of the groups, a cheeky piece from the guitar ensemble, or even the “jokes” made by the host of the evening. All of these elements bring back warm memories of Christmas Fantasia’s past.

As a student, I remember being in complete and utter shock that I was able to sing in such a stunning venue. I grew up singing the Pacific Chorale Children’s Choruses, so I was no stranger to performing in large concert venues, but this Concert Hall was on a whole different level. It was truly amazing to look out at the audience and see nearly 1000 faces looking back at me. There was nothing quite like it. All the long hours of rehearsal, lack of sleep, and vigorous preparation leading up to the concert paid off in the very moment we opened our mouths to sing the first note and were met with audience eyes full of wonder and delight.

But the true beauty in Christmas Fantasia is it really is a time for the Vanguard community and the general Costa Mesa arts community to join together. Since we’ve held the concert in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, it’s felt like a premiere arts performance that the whole community is a part of, not just Vanguard students, staff, faculty, and families. It transcends the walls of Vanguard University and puts Vanguard’s incredible music department on display in one of the most established and beautiful venues in Orange County. It truly is a remarkable opportunity for students performing and the community alike. and looking back, I can fondly say that Fantasia is something I always enjoyed doing and will continue to enjoy attending for years and years to come!

Lauren Francis ’10
Vanguard Choir Alumni


(Enter code ‘NATIVITY’ at checkout)


#GivingTuesday 2014

About #GivingTuesday…

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, gifts to Vanguard University will support the Through These Doors campaign for the Scott Academic Center renovation and expansion. Thanks to a generous donor, all donations will be matched dollar for dollar so that your giving will have twice the impact. And gifts of $100 or more will be recognized on a special donor wall display inside the new academic center. This is an opportunity for you to leave your mark in a tangible way at Vanguard. IG

 About the Through These Doors campaign…

The Scott Academic Center is the hub of student services including admissions, financial aid, accounting, and the registrar offices. Gifts of any amount will help us reach the finish line of our $7,000,000 goal—we are less than $170,000 away! Gifts will go to support:

How can you help?

On December 2, we invite the Vanguard community (current students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends) to make a gift of any size to the Through These Doors campaign in conjunction with #GivingTuesday. Gifts of $100 or more will be included on a special “donor wall” in the building. But no matter the size of the gift, the goal is to get alumni to participate and give back to their alma mater. Visit vanguard.edu/givingtuesday.

Be a #GivingTuesday “Champion”:

  1. Making a donation of any amount
  2. Taking an “unselfie” picture of yourself with a sign that says “I support Vanguard because_________________” and post to your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter with the hashtag #GivingTuesday #@VanguardU
  3. Nominating someone else in the Vanguard community to make a gift as well. Let them know they have until 12 midnight on December 2.

When do we need your participation?

We’d love to snap a picture of you prior to December 2 so we already have a strong social media presence when the day begins. Please send us a photo of you (or if you’re local, we can come snap one!) that we can post on December 2? Then post it on your own accounts and tag as many people as you can think of on the actual day! Here is an example:



Office of Alumni Relations
(714) 966-5494 | alumni@vanguard.edu


Homecoming 2015


Homecoming 2015 Schedule of Events

Bring your family, friends, and fellow Vanguard Alumni… 
We hope you plan to “come home” on January 28-January 31, 2015. Mark your calendars today!


Thursday, January 29

9:30 AM                  Alumni Awards Chapel (NMC) 

The Homecoming Alumni Awards Chapel is a chance to honor our awardees of 2015:

Alumnus of the Year: Tony and Kathy (Vawter)  Salerno ’66

Distinguished Service Award: Wayne Turner and Sylvia (Pipkin ’64) Turner ’70

Young Alumnae of the Year: Kallie (Dovel ’08) Thomson, Alli (Swanson ’09) Talley, Jessie Simonson ’09, Anna (Nelson ’09) Toy, and Brooke Hodges ’09 (founders of 31 Bits

8 PM                       VU’s Got Talent (NMC)

Who will be crowned Vanguard’s most talented student? Come find out at the talent show of all talent shows. There will be featured alumni performers including “In the Wilderness” and a panel of alumni judges. This will be a night of laughs and a great time of showcasing the Vanguard community’s most talented performers.

Friday, January 30

5-9 PM                   Art Show (Heath Rotunda/Great Commission Hall) 

Join us for this FREE event, and have the opportunity to purchase most of the artwork on display (cash or check only). There will be artwork from featured community artists, Vanguard faculty, Vanguard staff, and Vanguard Alumni. There will also be a special student photography contest happening as well, and those photos will be on display.  We look forward to celebrating our Vanguard artists with you!

*If you would like to participate in the Student Photography Contest, please email lauren.francis@vanguard.edu for information and submission guidelines. 

Saturday, January 31

9 AM                         Registration and Check-in (Needham Chapel)

Come register and sign in for the 5K!

10 AM     5K Run for Mercy – Benefiting John Brock ’04 and in memory of Laura (Ely ’04) Brock

Come enjoy a fun run, walk, jog or skip to support the Brock Family! This past year, Laura fought a difficult lung disease known as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. In the midst of the fight, John began to reach out to his friends and family. As texts and phone calls became too overwhelming, he started a Facebook page that would share Laura’s updates. As Laura battled. her condition worsened, and following a double lung and heart transplant, her body could simply fight no more. Join with alumni, friends, and family as we support the Brock family and celebrate Laura’s legacy. RSVP & DONATE HERE.

There will also be a classic car show happening on campus, and you can register your car here.

 11  AM                        Homecoming Celebration Party (Campus Mall)

Upon finishing your 5K, join us for a meet and greet with the Brock family, live music from Blues Lyne, Kid Zone, vendor fair, and an In-N-Out Truck! 

1 PM                              Basketball Camp (The Pit) 

The Vanguard University Men’s Basketball program will host this free, one hour clinic. The clinic will take place in “The Pit”, the legendary gym on Vanguard’s campus. The Men’s Basketball coaching staff, as well as a handful of current Vanguard Lions, will coach and train boys and girls ages 6-15. 

Walk-up registration is available for this event (you will need to fill out a waiver for your child). 

2 PM                              Soccer Camp (Soccer Field) 

The Vanguard University Soccer program will host this free, one hour clinic. The clinic will take place on the brand new soccer fields! The Soccer coaching staff, as well as a handful of current Vanguard Lions, will coach and train boys and girls ages 6-15.

Walk-up registration is available for this event (you will need to fill out a waiver for your child). 

5:30 PM & 7:30 PM      Women & Men’s Basketball vs. The Masters College (The Pit)

Cheer on our Vanguard Lions as we challenge The Masters College! Vanguard Concert Choir will be singing the National Anthem and the Alumni Upperdeck will be open during both games (snacks, giveaways, gathering with fellow alumni!) 

Cost is $6 for adults, $3 kids; CASH only. Tickets may be purchased at the door.


Office of Alumni Relations

(714) 966-5494 | alumni@vanguard.edu

** Check our Facebook & Twitter pages for Homecoming giveaways and prizes! **