Student Story: Jessie Hornibrook


Each year Vanguard sends out teams of students to different global partners around the world. The Ireland team, led by Dalila Toledo ’10, partnered with Cornerstone City Church in Derry, Northern Ireland. The student leader from the trip, Jessie Hornibrook ’16 shared a little bit about her amazing experience with the Vanguard team in Northern Ireland.


If there is anything that is true about our incredible God it’s that he works in amazing and unique ways. I think that it’s fair to say that before Ireland our entire team was feeling a little less than adequate for the trip, myself included. I’ve been on many trips before and as much as my heart wanted to go, a part of me was still screaming, “Do I have to?”  I’ll be honest; this past season of my walk with Christ has been rough. I found myself second semester questioning whether I even still believed in the things I was preaching. I felt fake. Fake and alone. Then, I got this amazing opportunity to student lead the trip to Ireland.

Like I said, I’ve been on a million trips before, but none like this. From the second we landed our team was welcomed into this new country as if we were family. The slogan for Cornerstone City Church is “Bringing Love to Life.” That was the cry of their heart for mission week. That was what we got to be a part of. We can all say that we learned how to love in a completely new way. Being in Ireland wasn’t about how busy we could be or how useful we could make ourselves appear. In America, we are told by everything we see that our busyness is a sign of success. That the more we are able to accomplish, the more valuable we become. In Ireland, the most prevalent part of the trip to me was that my identity does not revolve around my ability to keep myself busy. When we arrived, who we were was enough for them. We were sufficient, adequate, honored and that stuck out to me. Cornerstone greeted us with a grace and love that was exactly what I would picture the Kingdom being like.

I believe this is a huge part of the reason why our team was able to bond so quickly. I would love to say that we all had this huge, life changing experience as a team and that it affected us all in the same way. However, I think that limits the severity of what God actually did for us. We all had different experiences with Christ. We were all tested, tried, and stretched in different ways and, in my opinion, that’s what made it so real. We all worked on the same site, with the same kids, for the most part offering the same services but the life experience we gained from it was vastly different. For some of us, we were called to pray out loud for the first time and to seek answers from our peers that we were once too afraid to ask. For others, it was as simple as being called out of their introvert shell to engage in the relationships around them and to engage in a meaningful way about something real. For me, I was told for the first time ever, that I’m not what I do. That my value isn’t in my ability to attain a title. God spoke truth into my life and I finally heard it.

On our last day of service in Derry we had a big celebration service where all of the kids from camp came together in a big church and we showed the entire congregation the awesome things we had been doing all week long. Then, as usual, the Pastor gave a message. The message was titled, “The big wean way.” He started off by stating that if you want a great position in Heaven, then you have to play like a child on earth. As the service came to a close and the band began to play their ending song, something beautiful happened. From the front row we heard this giggle erupt out of a little four-year-old boy named Riley, who we had the pleasure of playing with all week. He then proceeded to get up out of his chair, run to the front of church and Irish step dance. He danced his heart out for the next three songs, never stopping to catch his breath, never hesitating because he was afraid of what all the staring adults were thinking. He just danced a blessing over the hearts of every person there. As he continued dancing, I glanced around the room at the rest of my team and I knew we were all thinking the same thing, “This is the kind of faith I want.” I swear I could feel God smiling down on Riley, proud of his ability to take a chance, risk looking a little silly, and have a childlike joy.

That is what Ireland was about for me: learning to be a child again, in every season and every storm, to choose joy. To sum up the experience of everyone’s trip is nearly impossible and I think their stories are unique and different for a reason and most definitely worth listening to. So if you’re curious, don’t hesitate to ask them. If you’re reading this and you haven’t been on a mission’s trip or maybe you’ve never led one before, I encourage you to take a chance. It’s an experience of a lifetime and our God is greater than any excuse you can come up with. Find that childlike faith again, and embrace it because when you do you will be blown away with what God can do in your heart.

“Do not be afraid but take courage! I am here.”

For more information about Vanguard Mission Trips, please contact the Office of Global Education and Outreach.


Student Story: Oksana Orlik

The Global Center for Women & Justice (GCWJ) at Vanguard University is a faith-based organization that creates an environment for education, advocacy, and collaboration. Whether in our backyard or on the opposite side of the world, we are preparing young women and men to understand the impact of gender issues. We are a voice for those with no voice, breaking through walls of oppression and fear, attacking ignorance and apathy.

Last month, a group of students joined Dr. Sandra Morgan on a research trip to Córdoba,  Argentina. We asked a student from the trip, Oksana Orlik ’17 to share a little bit about her experience.


argentina 2

1. What interested you about the opportunity to travel with Dr. Morgan?

Before this trip, I knew of the GCWJ because of the annual Ensure Justice Conference, but I was not actually involved with the center. Of course I was drawn to the trip because it was an opportunity to go to Argentina. My previous studies and interests enabled me learn so much about human trafficking in Europe, Asia, and even the United States, however I never heard anything about human trafficking in Latin America. I knew this would be a unique opportunity to learn about human trafficking while “on the ground” with various experts.

2. What preparation did you receive for the trip that you felt like impacted you the most? Was there any part of training that specifically resonated with you?

A pre-requisite for attending the trip was one of the human trafficking courses offered at VU and I took CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) and the impact of that class is hard to put into words. Human trafficking in any capacity is such a dark and heavy subject, but when you have to explore the exploitation of children, it hits even deeper. Our class had multiple guest speakers from the field and what stuck out the most to me was how the vulnerability of a child (of a human of any age really) can be used for exploitation. This resonated with me because as an Anthropology major, I have been focusing on community development and building healthy communities is something that I am passionate about. Healthy communities are essential to protecting people from future exploitation.

3. When you arrived, what thoughts were going through your head? How did those change over the course of the trip?

As soon as the plane landed in Argentina my mind was in comparison mode, comparing what I saw to what else I knew about Latin America- El Salvador. The roads, the chaotic driving, the city, and all of the signs in Spanish were so familiar, but different in many ways. Because I had lived in El Salvador last year, being in a Spanish speaking country was not foreign to me. I love to listen to and speak Spanish so I am always excited to be in Spanish speaking countries. It was interesting to be in an urban setting. Getting to experience the city life was exciting and I think Argentinians never sleep (except during siesta when everything is closed). One of the things that is very obvious about Argentinians from the beginning is how affectionate they are. People are greeted with a kiss on the cheek and people are much more expressive. This took a few days for me to get used to, but by the end of the trip I really appreciated the closeness and familiarity that the culture brought.

Upon arriving to the trip, I had very little expectations for what our time would be like or what we would get to experience, but by the end I realized how amazing it was to fit so many different opportunities into such a short trip. Our activities ranged from hearing Sandie preach to a group of pastors at a Bible school, giving the Live2Free presentation in Spanish at a few churches, interviewing different anti-human trafficking organization, visiting a convent and having mate (an Argentine drink similar to tea) with the Frey and his team, eating at the local mall food court, walking really far to try ice cream, assisting with the Ensure Justice conference, and visiting a German town in the mountains. Living in the city, eating at the local mall, and going to nearby coffee shops gave us the opportunity to observe and participate in local culture.

4. What were the biggest challenges you faced while in Argentina?

One of my biggest challenges in Argentina was forcing myself to stretch my Spanish speaking ability. Conversing with people came easily to me, but there were times when I had to translate between conference attendees and our speakers and that was a struggle because I came in contact with a lot of vocabulary that I did not know because I never needed to. One situation stands out in particular, I had to translate a very sensitive conversation between a woman and our trauma-healing speaker. The woman was telling a story of a friend who was sexually abused as a child and how the rest of her life was affected by the trauma and asking for practical advice. In that moment as I had to listen to the Spanish and translate it out loud to the speaker in English, everything we were learning in Argentina (and what I had learned in CSEC) became very real to me. Telling the story, saying the words out loud, made me realize how power the effects of trauma are. It also made me realize how much the conference attendees were affected by the conference material.

5. What impact did you see the GCWJ having on the people you went to work with?

I think my answer to question 5, when I had to translate between the woman and our speaker is also a good answer for this one. In general, all of the short, little conversations I had with conference attendees at the door or the ones that I translated between attendees and the speakers revealed how much they were learning from the conference and how excited they were to have practical tools for addressing human trafficking, violence, and trauma in their communities. In addition, when we gave the Live2Free presentation in churches, the young people in the church would come up to talk to us about it after the service and it was cool to see them interested in getting involved. Sometimes what we think is the simplest thing can have the most impact.

6. Anything else you’d like to add?

In general, I think this trip was a really unique experience because it combined academic work with spiritual growth. We learned a lot about analyzing Trafficking In Persons reports, talking with experts, asking culturally sensitive questions, and thinking through global issues, but I also experienced spiritual growth. Dr. Morgan preached to pastors and church congregations about the responsibility that Christians have to ensure justice to the oppressed and to make disciples as we go through out lives following Jesus and those were great things to be reminded of. I believe that God is always speaking and it is up to us whether we will make the room to hear Him. During the trip God reminded me of His faithfulness to His people and the fact that He is continually working to restore broken relationships. Being a part of Asegurar Justicia gave us the opportunity to be a tiny part of God’s redemptive work in Córdoba, and that was a huge blessing.


For twelve years, the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University has provided training and resources to enable leaders to promote justice for women and girls.

If you’d like to sponsor more work that the center is doing around the world, join the Priceless Committee in supporting the Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ).


If you have questions about the event, please contact Erin McHenry, the Director Annual Fund and Stewardship, by email or at 714.966.5459. Sponsorships and tickets are non-refundable.


Summer Conferencing 2015

Vanguard University offers a host of services for conferences, meetings, reunions, camps and so much more.  We sat down with Stuart Shevchenko ’15 the Conferencing Services Coordinator, and asked him to share what Vanguard has to offer.  With the summer drawing to a close, this is the perfect time to plan your event for next summer.

Can you tell us about the services Vanguard offers for conferences and meetings?

Vanguard offers a variety of options for friends, alumni, and guests including meeting spaces and conferences.  On a year-round basis people may inquire about reserving select meeting spaces.  During the summer, Vanguard turns our campus into a full conferencing center that offers housing accommodations – including linen service and meal accommodations.  We also have meeting spaces available on campus, and our beautiful Needham Chapel for weddings and other meetings.

Trees 1How soon do rooms typically reserve in advance?

Dorm rooms and meeting rooms are reserved on the basis of availability. For a number of my returning groups, I reserve spaces for them about a year in advance. However, this is not always the case. Because we are a university, I have to work around the scheduling of the Registrar and university events. What was available one year, may not be guaranteed available the following year. If someone is simply interested in reserving a classroom for a few hours on a weekend, I can generally get that reserved about 4 months in advance.

What types of events does Vanguard host in the summer?

Vanguard University Conferencing hosts a variety of events such as youth camps, leadership conferences, church family camps, church retreats, weddings, and cheer leading camps.

Give us an estimate of how many guests typically stay at Vanguard in a summer?

 Approximately 3500 guest make their way through Vanguard in a summer.

With so many options in Orange County, what separates Vanguard from other locations?

Given our location, are prices are very affordable. Staying at Vanguard is a fraction of the cost of what it would cost to stay at a hotel.

We are also conveniently located in the heart of Orange County. We are about 15 minutes from Disneyland, 10 minutes from the beach, and about 5 minutes from John Wayne Airport.

Our campus is small and easy to navigate. Many of my returning renters love it here because our campus provides a sense of community. I had one gentle tell me that they love to stay here because Vanguard is like a little village in area surrounded by busyness.

Trees 4Are there any alumni discounts for facility usage such as Needham Chapel?

There are! Our alumni discount is 20% off the total bill. We do also offer a 10% discount for friends of the university and repeat events.

Why do you enjoy working with guests of Vanguard?

I enjoy working with guests of Vanguard because they love being here. It is easy to work people who want to be here.

Do you have any last pieces of advice to those considering having their event at Vanguard?

Vanguard is not a 5-star hotel, but we take care of you. We work hard to make events on our campus as seamless as possible. You can expect that when you are on campus, you will be greeted by our friendly staff and enjoy our campus environment. If you have a vision for a camp, let me know as I want to work with you.   

If Vanguard is an ideal location for a meeting, gathering, or event, stop by our conferencing office for more information on how to book your next event today. Space is limited so book quickly. Email us at eventrelations@vanguard.edu, or call us at 714.662.5290.

To learn more, check out the Vanguard University Office of Event Relations website.

Baseball 1

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.



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


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.


Dr. James Woodrow, the Traveling Professor


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.


NATURArticle-WaterfallAL WONDERS

  • 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



  • 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.




Summer Bridge Program



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.


Q&A with Provost O’Quinn



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)