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! **


Allie and Garth Harris

Class Notes – by October 3

class notes header

Vanguard Alumni: we are gathering Class Notes for the Fall/Winter issue of the Vanguard Magazine! They are the most-read section of the magazine, so we want to make sure as many Alumni are included as possible.

Class Notes are in these categories –
Just Married
Future Alumni (babies born among us)
In Memory (honorariums for those who have passed away)

Let us know what you’ve been up to since you graduated. Other information to include: Did you receive another degree? How about a promotion? Have you moved to a different state? Did you celebrate a special anniversary recently? Where have you traveled to? What has your church, family, and/or company been up to? All of this information helps as we write your Class Note for the Vanguard Magazine!

AN EXAMPLE:   Allie (Maxwell ’08) and Garth Harris ‘07 welcomed Audrey Carol into the world on July 8, 2013. Garth works for a software company in Newport Beach called CAKE, which is a tracking and analytics platform that allows companies to optimize online performance marketing. In May 2013, Garth was promoted to Client Services Director, Europe which brought the Harris’ to London where they have been happily living for almost a year now.

Now, HOW do you submit a Class Note? Don’t worry, it’s easy…

  1. Online at Vanguard Alumni website:  http://www.vanguard.edu/alumni/submit-a-class-note-2/
  2. Email: alumni@vanguard.edu with Subject: My Class Note
  3. Mail: Vanguard University c/o Alumni Relations, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Deadline is Friday, October 3. Please send any information to us by then! Photos can be emailed (jpeg) or mailed at the address above. Prints will not be returned. Also, when you send us your photos, it grants Vanguard University permission to print it.

Check out other Vanguard Magazines online here: http://www.vanguard.edu/about/alumni-magazine/

Legacy Family Event Photo

Legacy Family Reception

Legacy Family Event Photo

Join us for a complimentary brunch with President Beals as we celebrate family
and the launch of the renovations of the Scott building!


Brunch & Legacy Family reception
10AM-12PM | Veterans Courtyard (Scott Building)

After brunch, there will be an opportunity for our Legacy families to be able to leave their mark in a tangible way. We will also take a group photo.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 1 to – https://connect.vanguard.edu/event/launch

Check out a recap article from last year’s Legacy Family Reception.

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

Legacy Family Reception Invite



New Student Mugging – August 22, 2014

Do you remember getting “Mugged” by Vanguard alumni at the Family BBQ on your first day on-campus? We will be carrying on this Welcome Day tradition and serving root beer floats to everyone attending the Family BBQ on Move-In Day, but we need you!
Volunteers are needed to help with event prep and serving root beer floats at the BBQ, and in return you will receive a new Alumni t-shirt!
*If you would like to volunteer, please email your Name, Class Year, Contact Info, and T-Shirt size to  volunteers@vanguard.edu by Wednesday, August 20.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014Muggin-TrioFINAL
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM | Event Prep - Campus Mall
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM | Event Mugging – Campus Mall
Vanguard University: Campus Mall
55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Hosted by Vanguard University Office of Alumni Relations
Katie Heemstra
Special Events & Volunteer Coordinator
(714) 966-5444 | volunteers@vanguard.edu
Check out our Facebook event to see who else is coming!
Laura Brock

Annual Run for Mercy: Brock Family Announced for 2015


We would like to announce the Brock family as our race beneficiary for the annual Run for Mercy during our Homecoming celebrations for 2015.

John ’04 and Laura (Ely ’04) Brock’s story has impacted so many in the past year.  John and Laura met at Vanguard, and married shortly after.  Throughout their marriage, their community from Vanguard has impacted them in profound ways.

This past year brought a new challenge to the Brock Family.  John and Laura, the parents to two beautiful young girls, experienced challenges with Laura’s health.  Laura was admitted to Hoag Hospital, and fought an increasingly difficult lung disease known as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis.  She was soon transferred to Cedars Sinai.

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 decided to start a Facebook blog that would share Laura’s updates with any friends and family – https://www.facebook.com/BreathingforLaura.  As Laura’s condition continued to worsen, an online giving campaign was created to help cover the costs of medical care, as well as other costs associated with taking time to stay near Cedars Sinai.  John has been overwhelmed with the support he has received from friends, family, and people whom he has never met.

As Laura’s condition worsened, she was put on the transplant list for a double lung transplant.  A new season began waiting for suitable lungs, and eventually also a suitable heart.  As John continued to pour out his thoughts and prayers for Laura, himself, and their two girls, a community began to surround the Brocks with a variety of fundraisers, prayer, and support.

The wait, and Laura’s health, proved too much.  Shortly after finally receiving a double lung and heart transplant – Laura’s body simply could fight no longer.  A memorial service was held on campus in June, with friends and family in attendance to celebrate an incredible woman, spouse, and mother, and to support the entire Brock family.

On January 31, 2015, as part of our Homecoming celebration, we will host the third annual Run For Mercy – a Fun Run/Walk to raise funds for an alumni cause – this year the Brock family.  The proceeds raised from the event will support on-going care for the Brock family.  Included in the event will be a classic car show, live music, food, and much more.  Please make sure to mark your calendars today.

Sponsorships for the race are still available.  Please contact the alumni office today alumni@vanguard.edu  if you or your company would like to support this great annual event.

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