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Vanguard Baseball Makes History: An Interview with Coach Rob Regg ’97

IMG_0117The Vanguard University baseball team had a magical spring. Only once in program history – 30 years ago – had the team reached the final site of the NAIA College World Series. This team matched that mark on its way to Lewiston, Idaho.  In the double elimination tournament, the Lions captured an opening game victory, but couldn’t match the success in the next two games. Rob Pegg ’97, has led the Lions for the past three years, and to a 39-22 mark this season. He shared with us what makes Vanguard, and our baseball team so great.

With so many potential occupations, why did you get into coaching?

Coaching has allowed me to continue competing while seeing players and teams improve through teaching. I’ve always enjoyed seeing people and players progress in sports and life. Coaching is a great gift when you are entrusted with great people and players.

Who have been your greatest influences?

My father, my brother, Kevin Kasper, and Jesus.

For those who aren’t fans of baseball, describe what makes it so special?

I believe baseball parallels life more than any other sport. There are so many random things that happen during the course of a game that are uncontrollable. Sometimes you prepare and do everything right and yet you fail. Other times, you do most things wrong and have success. Life is like that too. In the end we recognize it as a gift.

Can you share with us the moment you knew your guys were starting to get hot at the right time?

We played well at the end of the season, but we actually finished the regular season losing 4 of our last 5. We had a hot streak at the end of March beginning of April and put together an 11-game win streak. We felt we did enough in the regular season to make the playoffs and that was the goal. We were the second to the last team selected for the post-season and that was all we needed. Once in the post-season we felt like a resurrected team and it showed.

What made you lost proud of your guys this year?

There are so many things really. I was proud that they didn’t quit and played it out to the end with the goal of being the best they could be. Even up to the last inning in the World series, the guys battled. I was very proud of how they grew as a team and in their faith as well.

What is special about Vanguard as a community?

The Christ-centered atmosphere is everything. It is also a true community where people are pulling for you from all areas and eras. It was great to hear from so many alumni and staff during our season.

Can you share with us a bit about your Vanguard experience as a student?

I absolutely loved every aspect of being a student at Vanguard. I had never experienced a Christian atmosphere like this before. The fellow students, staff, and faculty felt like they were all behind you. It was an amazing experience that I can only thank God for.

What advice do you have for those reaching for a challenging goal?

God is bigger than any obstacle. Where we stop, God begins. Get to your end fast, so God can take over.

 Read the Daily Pilot Article here.

 

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Five minutes with the new president of the Vanguard Alumni Association – Nicole Suydam

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Nicole (Thompson) ’95 Suydam, is the CEO of  Second Harvest Food Bank – whose mission is to end hunger in Orange County. Second Harvest partners with more than 340 member charities to help feed more than 200,000 individuals each month. In addition to being a nationally recognized leader, Nicole is a wife and mother to two beautiful daughters.

Can you tell us a little bit about Second Harvest Food Bank?
Second Harvest Food Bank is dedicated to ending hunger for the nearly 400,000 people who are at risk of going hungry in Orange County, CA. Last year we provided the equivalent of over 17.6 million meals to our community.
What is most rewarding about your career?
I love the opportunity to make a positive impact on my community and I especially love mentoring and developing young people for nonprofit careers of service.
Who have been your biggest influences, and why?
My Mom and Grandmother have been by far the biggest influences on my life. My Mom raised me as a single mother and taught me the value of hard work no matter the challenges and encouraged me to become the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. My Grandmother raised seven children as a single mother and is my inspiration to never give up and to always keep Christ at the center of my life.
Why did you choose Vanguard?
I was determined to attend a Christian college and I sensed God’s presence in a strong way during a chapel service when I was visiting the campus. I knew in that moment that God was leading me to Vanguard.
How did Vanguard impact who you are today?
My history and political science classes gave me an important world view and perspective and inspired a passion for working in politics early in my career which gave me the skills I needed for my career nonprofits.
Why have you chosen to be involved with Vanguard?
This year marks 20 years since I graduated and I am excited to give back and engage other Alums to serve and support Vanguard and help prepare the next generation of leaders for a life of service.
Is there one piece of career advice you received that you would like to share with our alumni?
Always be willing to go above and beyond what’s expected and you’ll build trust and respect with your leaders and colleagues.

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Dr. James Woodrow, the Traveling Professor

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We are so proud of the caliber of our Vanguard Faculty!
Learn more about Dr. James Woodrow, professor in the Department of Business and Management.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I had the privilege of growing up in a beautiful region of Pennsylvania known for its Amish, Mennonite, and Quaker communities. Living in and among a faith community that valued intentionality and spiritual depth provided me with the foundation for a lifestyle that is simple and God-centered.   After graduating from high school, I attended David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), and later earned my master’s degrees at Peabody College and the University of Southern California. I eventually earned a doctorate at Vanderbilt University.

My career has been very diverse. In addition to higher education, God has called me into a variety of professional, management, and consulting roles. In each aspect of my career, I can clearly see God’s provisional hand.

 

Article-Bio-PhotoAfter graduation, you became involved in smuggling Bibles into the USSR. Tell us more about that experience.

After graduating from college, among several opportunities I prayerfully decided to spend the summer in the mission field. My experience was unique in that a handful of friends and I travelled with a missionary who was passionately committed to smuggling Bibles across the Iron Curtain. At the time, the governments of the USSR were opposed to the radical message of Jesus Christ, and many believers suffered long imprisonments due to their beliefs. I still remember the feelings and emotions of anxiousness and excitement as we crossed Communist borders as tourists while travelling in a beat-up Winnebago. We had Bibles printed in the Russian language hidden in special compartments. It was definitely a life-changing experience for me.

On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the culture shock was nothing short of dramatic. We met with underground Christians in Soviet-style apartments, where the family patriarch turned up the radio volume to muffle our voices while we quietly sang and prayed together, all while anxiously hoping the neighbors wouldn’t report us to the KGB. We also learned how Russian Christians wrapped their Bibles in newspapers to appear that they were returning from the market in order to avoid being harassed as they walked home from church. Adjusting to the literal interpretation of the holy kiss, on the lips, by both brother and sister in Christ, was another challenge, as was being served soup at the family table, usually borscht, and being told that “the louder we slurped, the greater the compliment.”

 

How did you decide on being a professor?

I had never planned on becoming a fulltime professor. I enjoyed teaching, but saw an adjunct role as a valuable way to connect with students, while pursuing another career. My career path is another example of how important it is to be open to God’s plan for us.

 

Article-Europe.SnowWho have been your biggest influences, and why?

I’ve been blessed with countless individuals who have influenced me personally and professionally over the course of my life. Being a lifelong learning is incredibly important to me. I have enjoyed looking for lessons that everyone, in all stations of life, can teach me, and have become convinced that we’re never too old to learn from others.

 

What brought you to Vanguard University?

Higher education took me overseas, as I lived and worked in London, England. Upon returning to the States in 2002, I returned to my consulting practice and also began inquiring with Christian colleges in the area about adjunct teaching opportunities. From that inquiry and subsequent conversations, I was invited to join VU in a tenure-track position, and a decade later, I continue to feel genuinely blessed that God has called me to Vanguard.

 

Article-GroupWhat do you most appreciate about our community?

Over the years, I’ve learned that I especially enjoy working in small communities, such as Vanguard, and with Vanguard there is the added bonus and blessing of our rich Christian heritage and mission. Vanguard creates a sense of belonging where we can each support and encourage one another, while striving to make a difference in our students’ lives. The people at Vanguard are here because we care about the Lord, and about each other.

 

You are known as an avid traveler. What do you enjoy most about traveling?

When I think about my passion for travel, the words adventure, exploration, new, and different always come to mind. My lifelong desire to explore new countries and cultures has always driven my choice of places to visit. In the good and the challenging aspects of traveling, I am continually challenged and grown in ways I couldn’t imagine. I want to see and experience as much as I can across this magnificent, God-created planet that we call home.

 

How did you get started in traveling?

I have always been interesting in foreign languages and cultures. In high school, I studied German for a year, then changed my language studies to Spanish, which gave me the opportunity to visit Spain and the Balearic Islands with my teacher and classmates. It was during this experience that the travel bug bit me, and since then, travel has been my passion.

 

Out of the 100 + countries you have visited, what are your top 5?

We world is truly an amazing and breathtaking place. Each country has been fascinating to visit, and consequently impossible to rank, so I’d like to list my favorite places around the world.

 

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  • Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana
  • Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
  • Fjords and Arctic Circle, Norway
  • Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  • Cappadocia, Turkey
  • Alps and Matterhorn, Switzerland
  • Himalayas, Nepal
  • Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei, Namibia
  • Amalfi Coast, Italy
  • Red Center and Uluru, Australia
  • Pantanal, Brazil
  • Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

     

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  • Palmyra and Crac des Chevaliers, SyriaArticle-Sand-house
  • Great Wall, China
  • Sphinx and Pyramids, Egypt
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Petra, Jordan
  • Roman Coliseum, Italy
  • Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, Turkey
  • Taj Mahal, India
  • Parthenon, Greece
  • Eiffel Tower, France
  • Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russia
  • Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
  • Chichen Itza, Mexico

 

Is there one piece of advice you received, that you now share with your students?

Dream, but don’t let those dreams define you – God may very well have different plans for you,
so be open to surprises and enjoy the journey!

Click here to learn more about Dr. Woodrow.

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Summer Bridge Program

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At Vanguard, the phrase “Your Story Matters” has been realized in countless situations. In the classroom, the mission and athletic fields, performance venues, dorm rooms, chapel and in mentoring relationships, Vanguard students have always experienced a community that genuinely cares for others. This fall marks the second year of a pilot program in challenging and equipping students to succeed and thrive at Vanguard.

 

College can be a challenging place for any new student, regardless of academic preparation or family support and guidance. For students who are the first person in their family to attend college, these challenges can be especially daunting. Navigating class registration, a host of new acronyms, multiple departments, a new living situation, and challenging coursework can quickly become overwhelming. In the fall of 2013, Vanguard began a two week program that brought both an intentional residential academic enrichment and a challenging leadership program for college bound students. The program is meant to provide a firm foundation, as well as a safe place for incoming students to seek assistance moving forward.

 

The summer bridge program brought together multiple departments across campus, including academics, student life, and enrollment management. Around 20 students were chosen for the program, and offered the opportunity to spend two weeks on campus before classes began. In this experience, faculty shared both insights on the academic rigor in store, as well as healthy ways to manage the challenges. Additionally, administrators, faculty, staff, and peers were involved in the program to provide a crucial support network.

 

As one student said, “this journey in the bridge program has been equipping me academically, mentally, and spiritually. Every leader of the Bridge program truly invests their time to create a relationship with us, encourage us, and help us in any way possible.” With an emphasis on enhancing academic skills in writing and math, the program seeks to overcome two of the biggest academic obstacles to new student success.

 

With a vibrant support network, and expanded academic skills, the bridge program is only the most recent way in which Vanguard continues to evolve in caring for our students. Your Story Matters – whether you are a first generation college student, or a member of the alumni community from the 1940’s. If you are interested in knowing more about the summer bridge program, contact  slmentor@vanguard.edu today.

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Q&A with Provost O’Quinn

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After an extensive nationwide search, Vanguard University President Michael J. Beals announced the appointment of
Dr. Doretha O’Quinn to the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

 

Can you tell the Vanguard community about your college experience?

My college experience began at Life Bible College, Los Angeles, now Life Pacific College, San Dimas. I received a B.A. in Theology and minor in Missions and Christian Education. I did educational coursework at U.C.L.A., Cal State Dominquez Hills and completed the credential program at Biola University. I received my M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Christian School Administration, and my Ph.D. from Biola University in Intercultural Education

 

After graduation, can you tell us about your post-college experiences?

My post-college experiences have varied widely, bringing some tremendous blessings and opportunities. My path led me oversees before I returned to higher education. I have had the great opportunity to serve at three tremendous universities – Azusa Pacific, Point Loma, and Biola Universities. My academic opportunities also brought a breadth of experiences, including professor, international educator, program director, facility project manager, service learning and cross-cultural engagement development, and also administration roles as an associate dean and as Vice-Provost of Multi-Ethnic and Cross Cultural Engagement.

Our world is incredibly connected, and I have been fortunate to travel to locations all across Africa, China, Indonesia, Israel, Germany, Martinique, London, and Mexico. I even had the great opportunity of serving as a Foursquare missionary assist in Panama. As an author, I have been a chapter contributor in several books and authored Silent Voices, Powerful Messages, the historical influence and contribution of the African American experience to the Foursquare gospel movement. I have served as keynote speaker for educational, church and marriage conferences, been a workshop and seminar leader, and served as a church and school consultant in various areas. Serving on the Foursquare Board of Directors and Board of Trustees have both been highlights of educational experience. There are additional civic leadership organizations in Los Angeles I’ve been involved in.

 

OQuinn coupleFamily is obviously very important to you. What do you most admire about your husband?

I most admire my husband’s unconditional love and commitment to God and his word, myself, our children and grandchildren along with everyone he encounters. We recently celebrated our Ruby anniversary of 40 years with a packed house of friends and family joining us and we renewed our covenant to God and one another. He loves serving in ministry leading men, developing small discipleship groups and traveling internationally with me. He is loved and respected throughout the Africa countries we have visited. He was an amazing Basketball coach who taught young men character, Godly principles and built a winning AAU team through their high school years. Several of his players went on to play basketball in college and the NBA, and one of his players is now the head coach of Orlando Magic, Jacque Vaughn. Since we have four children our home was a revolving door because of his commitment to young people.

 

What has been the biggest surprise being a mother and a grandmother?

One of the biggest surprises being a mother was how totally dependent I needed to be on God for the diversity of my children and their needs. There are no books or counsel that can be given to being a perfect mother, you need the Lord to direct and guide you with his wisdom, patience, love and courage and you still make mistakes. As a grandmother, my biggest surprise was how much I would love this experience and the joy my grandchildren bring. I currently have 7 grandchildren with 1 on the way and they are all different but lots of fun. I believe the biggest surprise overall as a mother and grandmother is how much money you really need because it is hard to say “no.”

 

ZoeCan you tell us about a time when your faith was challenged and strengthened?

One of the most challenging times for my faith was when my granddaughter Zoe, (daughter of my only daughter) was born with Down’s syndrome. She was in the NICU for two weeks and we didn’t know what God would do. We lived in San Diego at the time and came back for a period of time to be of support to my daughter. There were no words we could say, no answers of “why”. What was so hard was I was mom with the answers and I absolutely had none, actually I had my own questions. Using the same experience has been the strengthening of my faith as well. We totally dug deep into the word as our only source and saw God provide several miracles. First, Zoe came out of the NICU and home to her mom. The President of Point Loma Nazarene University asked me to take the leadership of an off site campus back in LA County and we moved to a home unplanned but 5 minutes from my daughter and we could be closer to my daughter within a month after Zoe’s birth. All the markers doctors said Zoe would not make until 3 or 4 she met at 9 months to 2 years. She began school part time at 2 and began catching the school bus at 3 and my husband who is retired is close by all the time and was her first care provider. We have seen a miracle before our eyes which continues to strengthen our faith. Her name Zoe means God-breathe and we see that evidenced daily. She has a younger sister and brother and Zoe is an amazing big sister to both of them.

 

Who is your biggest role model?

My biggest role model/s was my first pastor’s wife, Dr. Juanita Smith, my grandmother and mother, Dr. Herma Williams, Dr. Gary Railsback, and Harriet Tubman.

 

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Proverbs 18:16 – Your gifts will make room for you… and never seek to open doors for yourself, keep your eyes on Jesus, for men will fail you but He never will. Those you lead and teach will learn by what you say, more by what you do, but mostly by WHO you are…always be a person of integrity.
Let your word be your bond, not a piece of paper!

 

What do you see are Vanguard’s strengths?

My observation of what I have learned about Vanguard and our strength is the commitment to vision and mission and the impact of the administration, faculty and staff’s lives, compassion and relationships with the students. There is a clear sense that the academic learning environment is one that is integrated with Spirit-filled principles for lifelong learning and influence throughout the world. There is an excitement I’ve observed for the advancement of innovating ways for different academic delivery systems of a Vanguard education. The potential and possibilities of advancing Global and Domestic service learning opportunities for students are exceptional. There are opportunities for new partnerships with the Assemblies of God international institutions and missions to be developed and strengthened.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Christian Higher Education?

Finances are one of the biggest challenges facing Christian Higher Education, and the challenge of families being able to send their students to Christian Universities. With high cost bring enrollment challenges, and federal, state and local aid is decreasing for students in aspiring to attain a degree at a Christina University. The need for both scholarships and endowments is vital for students. Another big challenge is culturally diversifying our administration, faculty, staff and student population to train leaders who advance the kingdom of God for community growth and the development in our culturally diverse communities.

 

What do you think the next chapter holds for Vanguard?

I believe the next chapter holds great opportunities for Vanguard being an exemplar institution modeling for other Christian and Public Universities how to be influential during difficult times by remaining true to our mission and vision. I also believe a clear strategic plan inclusive of academics, student development, new facilities, finances, etc. that articulates to our stakeholders the direction ahead with benchmarks that are transparent and measured for effectiveness will foster a strong sense of trust and build a closer community. As a recognized Christian University that is a Hispanic Service Institution we will advance our development and outreach for services for all our diverse populations. Throughout the Old Testament God expected the children of Israel to build memorials and celebrate the victories He accomplished. As Vanguard experience new victories, we must allow for a time to remember and celebrate what God is doing on campus. I am excited for our next chapter, and what God has in store for our great university!

 

To stay updated on the Office of the Provost – http://www.vanguard.edu/provost/

National Champion Head Coach Rhett Soliday

The Lion’s men recently won their first ever national championship, and just the second national title in Vanguard’s history.  Head coach, Rhett Soliday joined us to catch up on how things have changed, and to look back on the incredible season.

How does it feel to be a national champion?

It feels great!  And Irhett_soliday_186_mb1 say that not just because of the end result – that we happened to outscore our opponent in the final game of the season – but because it feels great knowing the guys paid the price to be in that position.  Our men really did earn the right with their effort and collective unity to be national champions.  The team put themselves in a position to have a special year, and the shining moment was winning that final game in the national tournament.  As good as the win felt as the seconds ticked off the clock, knowing the incredible guys on our team and our coaches made it that much better.

Is there a defining moment this season that makes you most proud of your guys?

There is definitely one moment that comes to mind this year, that let me know we had a pretty special group.  You know you have a special group when the guys genuinely care for one another – that they desire the absolute best for every man on the team.  For our team, I knew this was genuine, sincere, and real when TJ Burke, one of our new incoming big guys got hurt.  He hurt his knee pretty badly, and we instantly knew it was a season-ending injury.  Immediately after the game, the guys rallied around him in the training room when he was still getting ready to go to the doctor, and all the guys broke down for him to see what he had overcome the year before (a torn ACL), and to see that he was facing that same thing again.  To see the guys surround him and to see the emotion, I knew we had a special team.

What would surprise others about your team?

I think the biggest thing that surprises others if you don’t know our roster is the international composition of our team.  We have two guys from Senegal, one guy from Angola, and two guys from Taiwan.  In our locker room we could have at least seven languages spoken, and probably many more.  It is pretty great to see guys from different parts of the world, and how they are really connected to one another.  For that diversity from a program of our size is pretty special.

What do you most like about the Vanguard community?

Our program tries to be a reflection what it is that makes Vanguard a unique community.  Our team tries to model the best parts of our community, and that is a genuine concern for one another’s well-being in all aspects – academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  The students, the faculty, and the staff reflect Christ at the center of our community.  Our program tries to reflect that in what we do, as it has been shown to us.  Many people assume that all Christian colleges are the same, but there is definitely something special about our community.

You took over a struggling program, and turned it around.  What advice do you have for those in a difficult situation?

When I started fresh here, I knew the one thing we had to do was we had to create positive momentum in the program, and that didn’t always mean wins and losses.  Positive momentum meant we had to get people – players, students, alumni, fans – we had to get them genuinely excited about the culture we were creating.  The only way to create a new culture is to surround yourself with positive, energetic people with a great work ethic.  Often when we are struggling, relational issues are at the center of many of our problems.  Great relationships in the workplace, even if there are struggles, allow us to find joy in our work.  We didn’t know what our wins and losses would be, but we were intentional about getting the right people to build something special.  Every job has to be about more than wins and losses – you have to build quality relationships.  Wins and times of success will come, but there will also be times of struggle.  Before you can get to winning a game, you have to build success with relationships, hard work, and accountability.  We get the great opportunity to bring in mentoring, discipleship, and other tools to build one another up.  In our program there has been a tremendous amount of grace extended to both our players and our coaches, which has made for a pretty unique environment.  We have built a foundation that we are proud of, but we definitely aren’t satisfied with where we are today.

Thank You

Thank you so very much to Vanguard University and to each and every participant of the 5K Run for Mercy 2014 that benefitted my son, Edmond, who has a rare brain disorder called Lissencephaly. My husband and I felt so blessed to be thought of and to be surrounded by the Vanguard community who took the time to come out and show our family their love, encouragement, and support. Being part of this event, reignited my pride to be a graduate of Vanguard University and I know many other alumni will be blessed as much as we were through this experience. For we know ALL things work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose, Romans 8:28. My husband and I continue to cling to this verse for our son Edmond and his journey with us. You may continue to follow Edmond’s story at www.edmonddaniel.blogspot.com

 

With heartfelt thanks,

Candace Segrove (Wong ’02) 

2nd Annual Run For Mercy

The Second Annual Run for Mercy – Benefitting Two-Year-Old Edmond Daniel Segrove

Vanguard alumnSegrove Familya, Ivana Mendez said “Vanguard has a goal of making everyone a family, and of bringing people together.”  Alumni Relations is planning a Homecoming event that will achieve just that, by bringing people together to support a single, worthy cause.  Last year, over 250 men, women, and children joined together in a 5K Fun Run/Walk to “Run for Mercy.” You can register for the 2/1/14 event TODAY.

Kevin ’99 and Camie (Grasser ‘99) Doyle’s young daughter Mercy is suffering from (OpsoDoyle Familyclonus Myoclonus Syndrome) or OMS, and she is fighting in the midst of it.  All of the proceeds of the 2013 Homecoming 5K went toward assisting her care.  Although this year’s race is benefitting a new family, you can keep up to date on what is happening with Mercy here, and you can also continue to support the cost of her ongoing care at this site  .  The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive with individuals asking about Homecoming 2014.

This year for Homecoming we are having another 5K Fun Run/Walk fundraiser, benefitting another deserving alumni family. Our second annual Run for Mercy will benefit Edmond Daniel Segrove.  Edmond is the 2-year-old son of Adonis and Candace (Wong ’02) Segrove, who was diagnosed in 2011 with a very rare brain disorder called Lissencephaly. The Segroves are filled with great hope, faith, and love, and they are caring for Edmond in the best way way they possibly caEdmondn – though this care does not come without a high emotional and financial cost.

You can read all about Edmond’s journey here.  Bring your family, friends, and loved ones to Run For Mercy on February 1, as we join together to assist the Segrove family.  Register online today!  The morning registration opens at 9 a.m., with the 5K Run/Walk beginning at 10 a.m.  Whether you’re a runner, walker, or somewhere in between, join us for a great cause.  Again, all proceeds from the event go toward helping the Segrove family care for their son.  Join us on the campus of Vanguard University for the Second Annual Run For Mercy. Rain or shine there will be no refunds.

REGISTER TODAY

Dr. Andrew Stenhouse, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Q: You received three degrees from Vanguard, taught as a tenured faculty member here, and now returned as the Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies.  What is it about Vanguard sets it apart from other institutions?

There is a Soul to Vanguard like no other institution I have encountered. What we do here is unique in that there is a deeply spiritual foundation that underlies absolutely everything that happens here. I know other universities talk about their unique Christian perspectives, but things really are different here. There is a spiritual commitment that binds the faculty together that is inspiring. We can sometimes disagree on the “how,” but we are all absolutely committed to the “what” (student learning) and the “why” (our calling to change lives). When you have faculty who are absolutely dedicated to the what and why, the how will inevitably be resolved – and with better outcomes due to the collaborative process. We all want the same outcome – students living a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.

Q: You are known as an expert in leadership development.  What advice do you give to students and alumni who want to better develop themselves as a leader?

Whenever anyone tells me they want to be a leader, I ask them why? Where they want to lead people and why they want to lead them there is foundational. Until a person has discovered that passionate call to truly make a difference – to rectify an injustice or to bring restoration to the broken – leadership is not about creating positive change; but is merely an ego trip. Leadership is always about other people. The best leaders I know really are not all that interested in being in charge. They’re interested in making a difference. People always follow someone like that.

Q: Our graduate programs and our School for Professional Studies have now merged into Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) at Vanguard.  Can you tell us the benefits of all adult learning being in one school?

All of our graduate and professional studies programs equip adult students for professional excellence. Our students are not the traditional students who live on or around campus and take classes throughout the day. Our students attend classes in the late afternoons, evenings, on weekends, or online. They generally have family obligations while furthering their own careers and are highly motivated to succeed academically as well as professionally. With this new organizational structure we can better leverage our efforts to attract, equip, and graduate students into fulfilling careers whether its business, education, nursing, counseling, or ministry.

Q: What would surprise our alumni who haven’t back to campus in over a decade?

If they walk around campus at nights or on Saturday mornings, they will see hundreds of adult learners ranging from their mid-20’s to mid-60’s. Some of the greatest diversity within the university is among our graduate and professional studies students.

Q: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?

From my Dad: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Q: Can you tell us a little about your family.

My wife Karen and I were married ten years ago in Needham Chapel – a place that has always been special to me. Since she had a daughter (Lindsay) and I had two (Taryn and Kayla) I proposed to her with a simple gold band with five diamonds. I told her that if we were to marry, it would be a package deal. There would be five us involved in the new enterprise. She agreed and life since has been an amazing blessing. Sure blended families like ours have unique challenges, but we also have unique blessings as well. I have written numerous articles for Focus on the Family about our stories and the November issue of OC Family will carry one of my favorite stories. I hope you get a chance to read it.

Q: What is the single greatest attribute you admire about your wife?

She absolutely loves the Lord. Her faith is constant.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time, when you are not on campus?

You will find me at the pool or the beach. Water is good for my soul.

15 Minutes with Interim President Clark

Can you tell the alumni community about your college experience?

Clark-Dr-David1

Leaving home, I had every intention of becoming a physician.  I was surrounded by doctors and looked forward to a life of helping others through medicine.  I received a pre-med scholarship from a nominally denominational college in the Midwest.  In a required Bible course, I had a professor who challenged what he referred to, as the “myths” of the Bible.  This was a pivotal moment in my life.  I was well rooted in Biblical truths, but realized my faith needed to become my own, that I could not rely on my parents’ heritage of deep faith.  I decided to make a change.

I transferred to Evangel College and also changed my academic course of study.  It was at Evangel that I met an academically challenging environment that also challenged and built my faith.  The integration of faith and learning was incredibly powerful for me.  It was at Evangel where I had several professors who deeply impacted my life.  I also made lifelong friendships with friends such as George Wood, and met my beautiful wife Lois. 

What do you most admire about your wife?

Lois is a woman who has numerous strengths.  She has an eye for detail, she is incredibly organized, and she has a patient demeanor.  Her strengths have been the perfect match for my strengths.  Lois’ gifts have allowed her to be a terrific wife, mother, and teacher.  I am very proud to say we have been married for 52 years. 

Tell us how you became involved with Vanguard?

When Vanguard reconstituted our board of trustees, another retired Christian university president agreed to join the board.  His insight to the unique challenges and opportunities of higher education was an important voice on our board.  After several years, he felt called to other commitments.  When he left, President Taylor reached out to me to see if I would prayerfully consider serving Vanguard in the capacity as a trustee, as I also had previous experience both in the classroom, and as a Christian university president.

Prior to serving Vanguard, did you have any previous experiences with Vanguard?

I have known Vanguard for much of my life.  My sister attended Vanguard when it was known as Southern California Bible College.  As a child, I remember playing on the beautiful campus when it was still located in Pasadena.  I also remember when the big name on campus was Ralph Carmichael. 

What do you see are Vanguard’s strengths?

When you step onto this campus, there is an ambiance that is not easily explained.  The community here is very open and welcoming.  I have met students who have transferred here from other great Christian universities, and they have reinforced the unique community found at Vanguard. 

At the center of Vanguard’s strength, is our commitment to our Christian heritage and Biblical truth.  Vanguard remains an institution devoted to providing an anchor to our students in an ever changing society.  We have remarkable staff devoted to serving our students, and we have gifted and dedicated faculty who have committed their careers to this institution.  Our faculty pours into the lives of our students in very profound ways.  Finally, I cannot say enough about our incredible students.  These young men and women continue to pursue excellence both in and out of the classroom.

You previously served as the president of Palm Beach Atlantic University; can you tell us any keys to success from another university?

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a great school, and I was fortunate to serve as president for six years.  During our time there, the university’s enrollment grew nearly 30%.  In addition, we were able to launch several new programs and building projects.  During the entire time of growth, we continued to have Christ at the center of everything we did.  I look back fondly on my time at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and I am thankful for the gifted individuals who make it their home.

What role did alumni play at Palm Beach Atlantic, and why did they stay connected to their alma mater?

At the heart of any university’s long-term success is its alumni body.  We were fortunate at Palm Beach Atlantic University, in that we had several families connected to the school who were able to financially support major improvements.  Just as important, alumni can open doors and introduce their alma mater to new circles of influence.  In today’s culture, people will be changing careers multiple times, with those changes; it is important to be connected to a broader alumni community with which to network.

What advice would you give our young alumni to launching a successful career?

Beginning a career is not an easy accomplishment.  Among the most important assets for anyone hoping to achieve a successful career, learn to write coherently and speak with clarity.  Employers want to see that you can carry yourself well, and that you can be reliable.  The passage, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” is just as important today as it was when it was written.

Don’t allow your ego to prevent you from taking a role that may be important in your career advancement.  A friend of mine responded to a written help wanted ad in college.  A Coke distributor was looking for someone to sort the glass bottles as they were reused.  He took that role, and he eventually moved to an executive position with Coca Cola. 

Don’t let your ego be a detriment to your career.  You may be capable of doing a job for which you have applied, but you might not be ready for it.  If you do well, your successes will speak for themselves.  I have only applied for one job since I graduated from college.  Since then, each role has been offered to me.  Also, don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone.  God will open doors, but you may have to take a role that stretches your level of comfort and location.

Your career has been marked by success in education and industry alike.  Can you briefly share times when you took a risk, and stepped out of your comfort zone?

After seminary, I took over as the pastor of an AG church in Illinois.  God was richly blessing our time in ministry.  In a year, our church doubled in size, and by year three we were the sixth largest church in Illinois.  We had individuals in our church who recognized the importance of leadership development before it became understood across industries.  Despite enjoying a fulfilling ministry, I felt God was leading me to another field.  I met with the chair of the communications department at the University of Iowa, and was offered a funded fellowship to pursue my Ph.D. in rhetoric and communication theory.

I decided to pursue my Ph.D., though it proved to me an incredibly strenuous journey.  I completed all my coursework, my comps, and my dissertation in three years.  I would not recommend anyone else to attempt such a pace, as my health suffered in this process, but God also affirmed this stage in my journey.

I began to teach, and finally attained a tenured position at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  While there, I was in the process of developing an entirely new program.  In my position, I was working with several broadcast partners as part of my ongoing responsibilities.  It was at this time that I received a phone call, and was told a man wanted to meet with me to discuss founding a Christian college.  I had never heard of him, but I took a consulting meeting with Pat Robertson to discuss his dream.

Though there were no buildings, and only a piece of land in Virginia, I left a tenured position and eventually helped launch the network version of the 700 Club on satellite television.  I was fortunate to be the founding dean of Regent University.  I was also the dean of the College of Communication and the Arts where we launched the first Ph.D. program.

At each step in my journey, God challenged me to move out of my comfort zone. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Christian Higher Education?

Christian higher education plays a crucial role in society, and in overall student development.  However, Christian schools face two distinct challenges.  The first challenge is the pressure on universities to let go of their Christian spiritual roots, to simply give in to changing cultural expectations.  The second is that while Christian universities present low faculty/student ratios and a safe environment for growth, Christian higher is not inexpensive.  The financial model of Christian higher education presents several challenges. 

What do you think the next chapter holds for Vanguard?

Vanguard is poised for great success in the next chapter.  President Taylor did an incredible time during her tenure, and her legacy has opened doors for Vanguard that previously didn’t exist.  We continue to have outstanding faculty who give of themselves daily to make our students grow both academically and spiritually.  Student recruitment also continues to be a shining light for the university, and we have an ideal location,

The next chapter is also filled with challenges and opportunities.  Our campus is beautiful, and reflects a great sense of pride, but some of our facilities do need improvement.  The Through These Doors Campaign will be crucial for us.  We need both the classroom space and a front door to our campus.  Our next president is also poised to expand on our academic programs, in offering expanded offerings in on-line and hybrid formats.

Through Vanguard’s entire history, Christ as been at the center of everything we do, and I can confidently say that won’t change.  This is a special place, with talented individuals who desire to see the next generation of leaders leave here with a solid education, personal development, and a deeply personal faith.  I am honored to serve Vanguard in this season, and I look forward to how God will bless Vanguard moving forward.