IG Award-Erin

2016 Alumni Award Winners

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For nearly a century, our alumni have impacted nearly every aspect of our culture. We want to share some of those stories, by recognizing alumni who have played, and are play a crucial role today. Our alumni award winners are nominated throughout the year from alumni, faculty, staff, and friends who recognize the incredible work being done. With each nomination, a brief bio is compiled to better understand the individual or group of individuals. At that point, the alumni office also looks to expand on the bios – drawing information from friends, coworkers, and published information.

With an initial list exceeding thirty nominations, the alumni office narrows the nominees to around four or five per category. At that point, the nominees with bios are presented to the board of the alumni association. Each board member votes on the winners, with additional rounds as necessary for tie breakers.




IG Award-ErinErin (Bongiorno ‘03) Donovan graduated from Vanguard with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology in 2003. While at Vanguard, she was involved in soccer and spent several summers volunteering in Kenya. Erin is the Executive Director of HopeSprings. HopeSprings is a faith-based 501(c)(3) that awakens, equips, and engages the Church by developing networks of faith communities in the Baltimore region and beyond. These networks train congregants as volunteers in order to build human resource capacity within HIV Service Provider Organizations. Its goal is to reduce the spread of HIV and its stigma and provide hope and healing to those impacted by HIV and AIDS. They seek to do this through the power of relationship. In Baltimore, 1 in 40 people is infected with HIV/AIDS, and in 4 Baltimore zip codes, that number is closer to 1 in 20 – a statistic on par with some of the worst developing countries in the world.  In 2015 alone, through training, outreach, education, testing and volunteerism, HopeSprings has worked with 117 churches and provided 975 volunteers from congregations.

Donovan is the Chair of Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research Community Participatory Advisory Board, sits on the Mayor’s HIV/AIDS Commission for the City of Baltimore co-chairing the Faith work group, and on the Board of the Presbyterian AIDS Network.

Prior to her work at HopeSprings, she served in the public and private sectors and has consulted for Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the U.S. Department of Labor.




IG Award-BrigmanBonnie (Bethany ’75) and Keith Brigman ‘75  have served as educators for the past 30 + years. Bonnie was selected Teacher of the Year by Kaiser Elementary School in Costa Mesa in 1999. She has been a master teacher, a Teacher on Special Assignment, a curriculum leader, as well as an adjunct professor at Vanguard University. She has also been nominated for Disney Teacher of the Year, as well as Teacher of the Year for Newport Mesa Unified School District and Orange County. Keith was selected Teacher of the Year twice by Kenneth Mitchell School in 1988 and in 2002. He also has been very involved in coaching Special Olympics for children with disabilities, and has won various recognitions: in 1986 he was awarded the John West Memorial Award as California’s Special Olympics Coach of the Year; his Special Olympic Team received the Gold Medal at the USA National Volleyball Team in Denver, Colorado. The Mighty Ducks honored his achievements by awarding him the Community Hero Award.




IG Award-JesseDr. Jesse Payne ’07 completed his BA in Business Administration from Vanguard, as well as his MA in Education and his teaching credential. Dr. Payne has dedicated his career to teaching, teacher preparation, and educating others about diverse issues, including the developing brain.  Dr. Payne worked as an elementary school teacher for three years in Orange County, and spent five years of non-directive play therapy/group instruction for at-risk students in grades K-3 with the Chula Vista Elementary School District in Southern California.  During this time, he also began his involvement Dr. Amen, and the Amen Clinics for which he is now the Director of Education, developing curriculum and programs related to the developing brain. His latest book, Making a Good Brain Great: Course (2nd Edition) was published and released in September 2015 and is being used by thousands of students all over the world.

Following graduation, he continued to work at Vanguard while completing his Doctorate of Education from USC. He currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education at Corban University. He has presented at universities around the world, from Harvard to South Korea, and is the author of three publications, including Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25). His curriculum shows students, parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors how they can unlock the ability to shape the developing mind.


To nominate someone for the 2017 Alumni Awards,
please email alumni@vanguard.edu by September 1, 2016.



run for mercy

Student T-Shirt Contest

(Pictured above: 2015 Run for Mercy)

Nathanael Harrington’s ’15 story is certainly not what he had originally planned. Nathanael began his Vanguard experience as a freshman in the fall of 1998. He continued his studies until the spring of 2001. From 2001 until 2013, Nathanael served in the National Guard, and it was at this point that his life took another turn. Nathanael was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, an incurable that causes breakdown of the nerves cells in the brain.  The disease is inherited, with no cure. Nathanael returned to Vanguard, and completed his degree in May 2015.  He and his wife, along with their four children are fighting to help raise awareness of the disease – and pray for a breakthrough in research.

We want YOU to design the t-shirt that all race participants will be wearing. This is a unique way to play a part in celebrating and honoring this amazing alumni family.

 Contest Details:


5K Run For Mercy


All submissions must follow specific guidelines:

  • 1 color front design
  • Include content – Vanguard University, 5K Run for Mercy, 2016


All files must be vector and submitted in Adobe Illustrator form. Please also submit font files. Email submissions to Alumni@vanguard.edu by November 24.


Entries will be pre-juried by a panel of staff experts. Winners will be notified in December and shirts will be distributed at the 5K Run For Mercy on Saturday, January 30.




Inaugural Larson Lectureship: Featuring Admiral Vern Clark

admvclarkYou are cordially invited to the Inaugural Larson Lectureship on Ethics & Business featuring Admiral Vernon E. Clark (Retired Chief of Naval Operations).  This special VIP event will be held on Monday, October 26, 2015 from 7:00pm-8:00pm at Newport Mesa Church (Vanguard University Campus).

The Bill & Joanne Larson Lectureship on Ethics & Business features nationally recognized business and civic leaders who embody a life of Christ-centered leadership and service.  This particular featured speaker, Admiral, US (RET.) Vernon E. Clark, is the second longest serving Chief of Naval Operations in history, and completed a distinguished 37-year Navy career in 2005.  He also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan.  Forged an effort to make the Navy more competitive and postured the Navy for the challenges of the past 911 world.  His innovations led to billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayers of the nation and the highest operational readiness the Navy had witnessed in decades.  Clark was a former member of the Vanguard University Board of Trustees and has served on various boards in industry and education including rolls Royce North America, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Company and Regent University.

Please join us for this exclusive opportunity to meet with a man who has played a significant part at Vanguard University and our country. If you would like to go, RSVP by October 19 to events@vanguard.edu


Alta Coffee Night

If you’re a Vanguard Alum, chances are you remember sipping a hot chai by the beach with some good friends.  Come relive the moments with your Vanguard University Alumni Family!

On Monday, August 17, 2015 the Alumni office is hosting an Alta Coffee Night.  There will be FREE drinks for the first 30 guests and dessert will also be served.

We can’t wait to see Alumni in the area and reconnect with all of you while enjoying a coffee from Vanguard’s favorite coffee shop. Hope to see you there!919384_10152050628058626_30835691_o1077118_10152050626888626_1659565761_o


Welcome Week Volunteers

Join us in welcoming our new Vanguard University – Class of 2019 freshmen and transfers!

Friday, August 21, 2015


[Frontline Alumni & Veterans Club]
8AM – 2PM | Towers Lobby
… Let’s move new students into their dorms! Frontline Alumni and Veterans Club: Join current students in carrying luggage and boxes to Laguna, Huntington, and Catalina Hall.


[Vanguard University Alumni]

(3:30PM Set Up) 5:30-8PM | VUSC Letters
… Remember getting an “I Got Mugged” cup from Vanguard Alumni on your first day on-campus? We are carrying on this Welcome Week tradition to serve root beer floats to 1000+ new students and families at the Family Bbq.


We need as much help as we can get! You will receive a free Alumni/Veterans Club T-shirt to wear (and keep) in exchange for your service.

**If you would like to volunteer, please EMAIL your Name, Class Year, Contact Info, and T-Shirt size to alumni@vanguard.edu by Wednesday, August 19.
Welcome Week schedule – http://www.vanguard.edu/studentlife/welcome-week/


Lauren Francis

Vanguard University Alumni
(714) 966-5494 | alumni@vanguard.edu


Event hashtags – #WELCOME2VU #vuFamilies #vuVeterans @vanguardalumni

OC fair

OC Fair Parking

It’s that time of year again for turkey legs, carnival games, and art exhibits. The OC Fair returns this Friday, July 17th, and the Vanguard campus is open for parking! So be sure to come out and support our various VU groups as they raise money for their teams/departments.


Friday, July 17 Student Life
Saturday, July 18 Student Life
Sunday, July 19 Student Life
Wednesday, July 22 Student Life
Thursday, July 23 Student Life
Friday, July 24 Student Life
Saturday, July 25 Student Life
Sunday, July 26 Student Life
Wednesday, July 29 Outreach
Thursday, July 30 History/Poli-Sci
Wednesday, August 5 Volleyball/Softball
Thursday, August 6 Women’s Basketball
Wednesday, August 12 Track & Field
Thursday, August 13 Men’s Basketball

*The dates not mentioned above will be fundraising for various Newport Mesa Church ministries.


movie ig

Outdoor Movie Night

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Join the Vanguard Alumni Community for an outdoor summer movie night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Starting at 5:30 PM, Vanguard will be saving seats for Alumni.  Come grab dinner at one of the food trucks on site and sit with us while we enjoy the pre-movie Trivia!  The movie begins at 8 PM.  There will be Vanguard signs so that you know where we are.

The first 30 Alumni to arrive will receive a free snack pack for the movie! Feel free to bring blankets, chairs and a light jacket in case it gets chilly.

The movie that will be playing is “The Sandlot” and is rated PG.

If you have any questions, please email alumni@vanguard.edu.

classnote giveaway

Summer Giveaway!

July 2015Do you want a free Vanguard bumper sticker?  If so, all you have to do is fill out a Class Note for our 2015 Fall/Winter edition of the Vanguard Magazine!

The Class Notes section is 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 – classnote giveaway
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!





Kayli (Ober ’06) and Darren Bagwell ’05 were married June 13, 2009 after rekindling their friendship from college.  Darren runs his own business Rock For Her (rockforher.com) that focuses on custom diamond bridal jewelry, and is working on a master’s in Psychology with future plans of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist.  Kayli teaches 1st grade.  The two welcomed Beckett on June 23, 2014.  He is such a joy to the family and reminds his parents of God’s faithfulness every day.  The Bagwells live in Newport Beach.


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/classnotes/
  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

Finally, HOW do you receive a free Vanguard bumper sticker?  It’s easy, as soon as you submit a class note, we will mail the bumper sticker to your updated mailing address.

This summer giveaway ends in August, so be sure to submit one as soon as you can.

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


June 2015 Event Recap

The summer is off to a great start with three different events during the month of June.  At the beginning of June, Vanguard hosted a booth at Fish

Fest.  Throughout the day we were able to welcome future lions and catch up with many different Alumni that stopped by.
fishfest2  fishfest   fishfest1

Only a week later, Vanguard University hosted the 1960’s reunion.  This year’s theme was “Friendships & Memories” and this was seen throughout the entireIMG_3553 weekend as friendships were rekindled and memories were shared.

“The reunions are magical in this way: You may not have seen these friends for years.  Yet when you meet, the years fall away and it is yesterday again.  You realize there is a bond between all of you and they are still your dear, close friends from SCC.  I was so happy seeing all my friends again that I could not stop smiling the entire weekend.”

The weekend was full of planned activities as well as time to simply visit and catch up with old friends.  Not only that, but they also took time to honor the Class of 1965 and Class of 1966 for celebrating their 50th class anniversary.  Thank you to everyone who came out to this event and to the many that made it possible.

The final event that was hosted by the Alumni office during the month of June was the Delta Kappa reception.  This was an IMG_6140exclusive event for Delta Kappa members to help us celebrate the accomplishment of the Through These Doors $7 million dollar goal.  We celebrated with a classic Vanguard Student meal- Laventina’s Pizza and Root Beer Floats.  Along with that, they also had the opportunity to hear from President Michael Beals ’81 followed by a special tour of the Scott Building.  We are so grateful for our supportive Alumni that continue to pour back into Vanguard.