Change Your Brain


Before Dr. Jesse Payne ’06, MA ’09 became the Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education at Corban University, and the Director of Education at the Amen Clinics, he was someone who witnessed the power of brain disorders and mental illness firsthand. Some researchers have the fortune of selecting an area of study simply due to interest, or on the advice of an advisor. For Dr. Payne, the complexity and pain associated with brain disorders seemed to choose him. Growing up, his parents who showered him with love and support, also revealed mental illness through issues such as schizophrenia, depression, and ADHD before his father took his life. The mystery of the developing mind wasn’t a far off concept; it was something that hit close to home.


Article-Jesse-and-DanielIn addition to being a professor and researcher, Dr. Payne recently released Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25), and it has quickly received powerful feedback. The book, a follow-up to fellow Vanguard alumnus Dr. Daniel Amen’s ‘78 NY Times Bestseller, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, shows students, parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors how they can unlock the ability to shape the developing mind. What many parents and students don’t realize is that the brain continues to develop into the mid to late 20’s. By taking care of the developing mind and optimizing it now through lifestyle changes and training, you can help unlock your chances of achieving your most aspirational dreams.


As Jesse’s own mind was being shaped, it was his time at Vanguard that helped him refocus and push forward in his academic pursuits. He came to Vanguard as a transfer student from community college, where he had grown frustrated with higher education. It was at Vanguard where he felt like more than simply a student, he felt like a valued member of a community. Completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Vanguard’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS), he knew he wasn’t alone – that there were others including professors and students who wanted him to succeed.


Vanguard was a place where he valued a diversity of viewpoints from professors and classmates alike. In the SGPS programs, he appreciated the diversity of thought, race, and faith backgrounds, all under the context of a Christian faith community. He contrasts his time at Vanguard, with his other schooling, including his doctoral degree from another institution. Professors at Vanguard bring real world experience, but they don’t just lecture and leave, they are open to connecting outside of the classroom – desiring to see students succeed.


Article-Change-Your-BrainDuring his master’s program, when considering what might be next, a transitioning coworker with multiple advanced degrees offered one piece of advice, “Keep learning, and keep happy.” The advice wasn’t a simple recipe for success, but rather advice from someone who recognized that Dr. Payne has an inquisitive mind. At the time, Dr. Payne wasn’t sure whether he should pursue a doctoral degree, but the advice helped him recognize his aspirations.


Spending time with Dr. Payne, you quickly realize he is a passionate and driven individual. More than anything, he hopes his research and book provides insights for young people who may be struggling, and adults who want to see their young person thrive. Never lose hope! The current reality does not need to be the long-term reality.

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25) is available wherever books are sold.

Life Without Parole

“Life Without Parole”


Elizabeth LeonardWith the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Elizabeth Dermody Leonard, many of our alumni have asked how they can be part of remembering her legacy. While details surrounding her memorial are still in discussion we would like to share with you an impactful way for you to participate in remembering and furthering the work that Dr. Leonard was a part of. Warren Doody, Vanguard Professor of English, has teamed up with the New York Fringe Festival to produce the play he wrote based on Dr. Leonard’s work. Below is his letter to the community:


As many of you know, I wrote a play, “Life Without Parole,” that was inspired by Elizabeth Leonard’s research and book, “Convicted Survivors: The Imprisonment of Battered Women Who Kill.” Although it is essentially her work that is onstage, Elizabeth asked me to substitute “inspired” for “based on” or “adapted from” because she didn’t want to take too much credit for what I wrote, which perfectly sums up who she was as a person. In fact, Elizabeth first approached me about turning her life’s work into a stage play because she was looking for ways to expand her message of justice and believed that theater offered a wider audience for dong so.

In August, the play will be produced at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival and, in honor of Elizabeth, the shows are being dedicated to her life and legacy. This dedication is featured on the website, on the campaign site, and in the brochures/programs at the festival. I know that Elizabeth would be thrilled with the creative team behind the Fringe Production: Working Artists Theater Project is the company that is putting on the play, which will be directed by one of their founders, Jessica Dermody, who, “coincidentally enough,” shares Elizabeth’s last name – well, her maiden name; the company is working in association with Karah Gravatt, a ’11 VU Theater Arts alum, who has been tireless in promoting the play and its message of domestic violence awareness.

As a way to raise money for the production, this team is crowdfunding the project. They are not asking for huge donations; the donations begin at $10.00 and go up from there, and it is 100% tax deductible. I have reached out via Facebook with this request, and some of you may have already seen a facsimile of this message on your newsfeed.

If you would be interested in making a donation, there are two sites at which to do so: - This is the play’s website, and there is a “donate” button/category on the home page. – This is the IndiGoGo site, and you can donate/contribute directly through the site.

In lieu of a donation, simply spreading the word by sharing these links via e-mail or on social media will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Prayerfully and respectfully,

Warren Doody
Professor of English

Life Without

“Breathing for Laura”

Brock Family

Please pray for John ’04 and Laura (Ely ’04) Brock and their family.

Last April, Laura underwent a lung biopsy and was diagnosed with an Interstitial Lung Disease called Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. Over the course of the year, Laura has undergone multiple tests, doctor and hospital visits, and is currently in ICU Fully Intubated and on a Ventilator, as she awaits a double-lung transplant.

A Brock family member wrote: “When we are stressed or under pressure, we’re told to “TAKE A DEEP BREATH” Ironically, this is exactly what Laura struggles to do daily, to simply be able to take a breath. We ask that you take a Breath for Laura!”

To read more about the Brock’s story and also to stay updated, visit


Homecoming 2014 Recap

Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014 on January 30–February 1 featured MANY exciting events and familiar faces back on campus! It was a blessed time full of fellowship and opportunities for alumni to reconnect! It was great to see alumni, current students, families, faculty, and staff share their Vanguard stories while enjoying the many fun events happening during 2014 Homecoming weekend.

Alumni speakers and worship leaders were featured throughout the week’s Chapel services. Tuesday, January 29, kicked off with Amanda Houston ’09, Josh Houston ’08, Dustin Ginn ’10, Bobby Laumea and Adam Gil leading the Vanguard community in worship. Our guest speaker for the remainder of chapel was Wayne Tesch ’04, co-founder of Royal Family Kids Camp which was developed in 1985 as a residential camp for some of the most severely abused children in foster care. Wayne received his Master’s degree in Church Leadership Studies from Vanguard and was an Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. We were honored to have him discuss with the community Vanguard’s impact on his life!

On Wednesday, January 29, worship was led by Jerad Atherton ’04 along with Aaron Andersen ‘11, Brandon Langworthy ‘04, Kyle Mack, Matt Ballmaier. Tina Ramirez ‘99, MA ’01, the 2014 Young Alumna of the Year Award Recipient, presented her story to Vanguard students during chapel. Tina is the President and Founder of Hardwired, Inc., a non-profit organization bringing hope to those under religious oppression by advancing religious freedom in law and policy worldwide.  Hardwired is using a new paradigm to create a grassroots movement to inspire the next generation of religious freedom advocates. We were thankful that Tina was willing to be a chapel guest speaker during Homecoming week and were honored to present her an award to recognize all of her incredible achievements!

The last Homecoming Alumni Chapel took place on Thursday, January 30, where Brandon Muchow ’11 led the congregation of students, faculty, staff and alumni in worship. Then, the 2014 Career Achievement Award Recipient, Dr. Dennis Gordon Lindsay ’69, shared a little about himself. Dr. Lindsay is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Christ for the Nations, Inc., a worldwide missions organization and Bible Institute headquartered in Dallas, TX.  He is the youngest son of the late Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations, and Freda Lindsay, co-founder. We look forward to see what God has in store for Dr. Lindsay’s future!IMG_5219

Thursday evening was a special night on Vanguard’s campus – Delivery Boys & Entourӓge celebrated 25 years of ministry through laughter! These ministry teams have served across the Western United States for a number of years, their mission to connect with young men and women through humor, worship and study. Emily (Maier ’03) Rose and Christopher Tillman ’02, served as the shows’ hosts and brought just as many laughs as they did when they were a part of Delivery Boys & Entourӓge teams themselves! We enjoyed performances from various Delivery Boys & Entourӓge teams and also were pleased to announce the current teams who closed us out! THANK YOU to all who have been a part of this ministry for the past 25 years – we have enjoyed all of the hilarious memories and look forward to what’s to come!

The Athletic Hall of Fame took place on Friday evening, January 31. We were pleased to induct many valuable Champions of Character who have done a phenomenal job of embodying Gold Pride even after their Vanguard days. 2014 Inductees are as follows:

VU Athletic HoF-14-069

Russ Davis

Athlete: Kevin Carlson ‘96

Teams: 1990 Basketball Team & 1995 Softball Team

Meritorious Service: Diane Ortiz

It was exciting to see the current Vanguard Lions come together with athletes of the past – as the years go on, one thing about Vanguard remains constant: Gold Pride! Check out pictures from the Athletic Hall of Fame here.

Saturday, February 1, was a big day here on Vanguard campus! Events went all day long, starting with our biggest event of the whole weekend – the second annual Run for Mercy 5K! This year, Vanguard alumni, students, faculty, staff and even the surrounding Vanguard community joined together to support Edmond Segrove, son of Adonis and Candace (Wong ’02) Segrove. Edmond, 2 years old, suffers from a rare brain disorder called “lissencephaly,” causing Edmond to experience seizures, muscle spasms, and difficulty with swallowing. Immense emotional and financial burden has been brought on the Segrove family, which is why we were moved to hold a run for a reason.

VU 5K run-14-010

VU 5K run-14-280

VU 5K run-14-355

Run for Mercy was a huge success! There were over 70 volunteers, close to about 200 runners and $3,000+ raised! The Doyle family also made an appearance at this year’s 5K and Mercy provided her beloved artwork for the winners of the race!Upon finishing the 5K, participants were invited to a celebration for Edmond Segrove in the Campus Mall. A fun bluegrass band by the name of “Moonsville Collective,” featuring Seth Richardson ‘95, performed while people enjoyed a meet and greet with Segrove family, a delicious, well-earned lunch from the In-N-Out Truck, and kids played in the Kids Zone. We encourage you to keep Edmond in your prayers as he continues to receive medical care and attention. Check out the pictures from Run for Mercy to see all of the smiling faces running for an incredible reason!

This year we honored our Alumni Award Recipients and the Class of 1964 as the newest inductees of the Golden Vanguard Society at a Homecoming Alumni Chapel in Needham Chapel. The fabulous Vanguard Singers and Band opened the service with a time of worship. Following, Joel Gackle MBA ‘10, Director of Alumni Relations, along with members of the Alumni Association Board, presented awards to the 2014 Alumni Award Recipients:

VU Alumni-Year-14-264

Alumnus of the Year:

Tommy Casarez ’94 

Career Achievement Award:
Dennis Lindsay ‘69

Distinguished Service Award:
Dan Myers ’57

Young Alumna of the Year:
Tina Ramirez ‘99, MA ’01

We were proud to induct various 1964 graduates into the Golden Vanguard Society, recognizing that these individuals have been Vanguard Alumni for 50 years. We are thankful for the continuing service to the Vanguard community!

The afternoon held various events, such as the “Girl Rising” screening and the Youth Basketball Camp in the Pit. At the same time, alumni from 1984 met for their 30 year reunion in the Great Commission Hall for mingling and refreshments. All events held laughs and reminiscing of Vanguard days, and we were glad with the outcome for every event on campus! Check out what these events were all about here.


The Vanguard Men & Women’s Basketball teams challenged Hope International University in the Pit that was packed with Blue and Gold fans.


First, the ladies held a continual home court advantage, winning with a score of 88-71. After our first victory, the Men’s team didn’t let us down. The entire game kept everyone one the edge of their seats, all the way into overtime! The Lions brought home another victory, the ending score 72-69. The Vanguard Concert Choir sang the National Anthem, and the Alumni Upperdeck was open during halftime of both games. What an exciting night after such an exciting, fun-filled day! To read more about your favorite VU Lions sports teams, check out Vanguard Athletic News.

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

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

We look forward to seeing you next year at
Homecoming 2015!

2014 Alumni Awards


Alumni Awards are nominated by Alumni to represent outstanding achievements, excellent accomplishments, and incredible service of Vanguard University Alumni. They are chosen by the Alumni Board of Directors and are recognized in an official ceremony during the annual Homecoming celebration on the Vanguard campus.

If you would like to nominate someone for a 2014 Alumni Award (descriptions below), simply fill out this form by September 12, 2013.

  • Young Alumna/Alumnus of the Year:  An alumna/alumnus who attended two years or attained a minimum of 48 units at Vanguard.  Must  be under 40 years of age.  The person(s) must have made significant contributions in her/his respective field.  Consideration will be given to alumni of all professions.
  • Distinguished Service Award:  An alumna/alumnus who attended two years or attained a minimum of 48 units at Vanguard.  The person(s) must have made an impact in one of three main areas: 1)ministry service – domestic or abroad, 2)service to the Vanguard community, 3)military service.
  • Career Achievement Award: An alumna/alumnus who attended two years or attained a minimum of 48 units at Vanguard.  One who has given distinguished service through his/her profession and/or personal achievement.  Consideration will be given to alumni of all professions.
  • Alumnus of the Year:  An alumna/alumnus who attended graduated from Vanguard.  This individual must be a recognized leader in his/her respective field.  The nominee must have high personal integrity and character demonstrating and living the mission of Vanguard University.

Last Year’s Recipients:

Alumnus of the Year      Ron Bueno ‘90

Distinguished Service    Dr. Isaac Canales ‘74

Career Achievement      Bill ’67 and Nancie (Pearson ‘66) Carmichael

Outstanding Young Alumnus  Jason Lankow ’03


Alumni 5K Story:mercy run

Last year we ran a 5K benefiting Mercy Doyle and her family.  The response was incredibly encouraging, and we will be running another 5K this year. We want to benefit another Vanguard Family.  Do you know someone (alumnus/alumna, former faculty, etc.) who could use the support of the Vanguard Community, and a 5K to benefit their current situation.  Along with the Alumni Award Winners, we will be selecting the recipient by September 12th.  Please email with any suggestions.


Office of Alumni Relations
(714) 966-5494 |

Gospel Song Celebration


Noel Wilson ‘84, an influential music director during his 22 years in the Vanguard Department of Music, is hosting a concert series that will celebrate Gospel Song heritage!  Noel will direct and perform along with a professional orchestra, choir, and fellow Vanguard Alumni.

Mark your calendars and join us for-


Saturday, September 14, 2013

4PM | Laguna Woods Clubhouse Three
23822 Avenida Sevilla, Laguna Woods, CA 92637


Sunday, September 15, 2013*
4PM | St. Andrews Church
600 St. Andrew’s Rd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
*Alumni reception to follow


Noel hopes that these concerts will be a professional, interactive, and shared musical experience that will shine light on different aspects of Gospel music genre. There will even be selections from the from Fannie Crosby and Gaither era.

You won’t want to miss this great concert!



Noel Wilson started to arrange and write music in the 1960s. He directed orchestras in the San Francisco Opera House, served as a Music Minister in the San Francisco bay area, and then became a music director at Bethany and Vanguard universities for a total of 30 years. The choirs that were led by Noel traveled all over the world including: Fiji, Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand, Canada, and throughout the United States.

Currently, Noel is the Music Minister at the Village Church of Laguna Woods and is also Faculty Emeritus at Vanguard University.


To RSVP for the Alumni reception:

Office of Alumni Relations
(714) 966-5494 |

General Information:

Donations and Volunteers:

Tickets and information:
(714) 485-9081

VU at the OC Fair



The Vanguard campus is open for OC Fair parking this summer! Come support these worthy VU groups as they raise money for their teams/departments:

Friday, July 12 Residence Life
Saturday, July 13 Residence Life
Sunday, July 14 Student Government Association
Wednesday, July 17 Frontline
Thursday, July 18 Frontline
Wednesday, July 24 Cross Country & Track
Thursday, July 25 Softball & Volleyball
Friday, July 26 Diversity
Saturday, July 27 Spiritual Formation
Sunday, July 28 Local Outreach
Wednesday, July 31 Women’s Basketball
Thursday, August 1 History/Political Science
Wednesday, August 7 Men’s Basketball
Thursday, August 8 Global Outreach


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

Continue reading “VU at the OC Fair” »

Tim Shaw ’89 and THINK Together

On Tuesday, March 5, Tim Shaw ’89 was named the Chief Development Officer of THINK Together. Congratulations, Tim!Tim Shaw

THINK Together, an acronym for “Teaching, Helping, Inspiring & Nurturing Kids,” is a successful, nonprofit education organization in California, also being one of the largest in the state. THINK Together provides early literacy, after-school, small group tutoring, summer learning, and many more academic support programs to students in need. This nonprofit serves over 100,000 students all over California, reaching school districts in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and many parts of the Sacramento area.

Tim looks forward to working with those a part of THINK Together, bringing more service and help to students in need. Tim graduated from Vanguard University majoring in history and political science. We’re so glad that he has been able to touch so many lives and become so successful after his time here at Vanguard!

To learn more about Tim and his career, THINK Together and before, follow:

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn:

Class Notes – By March 15

Winters are always full of memories… So tell us about it with a Class Note!

Vanguard Alumni, before it’s time to break out the swimsuits and start your vacations, send us an update! We are gathering Class Notes for the Spring/Summer Vanguard Magazine! They are the most-read section of the magazine, so we want to make sure as many Alumni are included.

Class Notes are in these categories –


Just Married
Future Alumni (babies born among us)
In Memory (honorariums for those who have passed away)

Let us know what you’ve been up to since you graduated. Other info to include: Received another degree? Changed jobs? Moved to a different state? Celebrated a special anniversary? Recent travels? Proud of what your family, church, or company is doing? Any of this information helps as we write your Class Note for the Vanguard magazine.


Mike McGuire ’69 and wife Shelley live in Irvine. Mike has been supervising student-teachers from Vanguard since retiring from the Newport Mesa Unified School District in 2004. The McGuire’s have six children and ten grandchildren, and are active members of Mariners Church. When time allows, Mike hunts and fishes with his family and friends.


Now, HOW do you submit a Class Note? It’s easy…

  1. Online at Alumni Website
  2. Email: with Subject: My Class Note!
  3. Mail: Vanguard University c/o Alumni Relations, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Deadline is Friday, March 15, 2013. Please send any information to us by then! Photos can be emailed (jpeg) or mailed at the address above. Prints will not be returned. Also, when you send us your photos, it grants Vanguard University the permission to print it.

Click here to read other Vanguard Magazines online.



Yogurtini self-serve franchise has an exciting future ahead of them!

               On Monday, January 14, the famous Yogurtini self-serve franchise based in Tempe, Arizona, founded by our very own Natasha Nelson ’98 along with her sister, Chelsey, was acquired by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Inc. Just the idea of the corporation buying Yogurtini allowed the sisters to imagine the expansion and opportunities their yogurt franchise could obtain, which made it an obvious decision whether to say yes or no to the deal.

                With a total of 30 Yogurtini franchises appearing nationwide and almost 50 self-serve yogurt franchises within Rocky Mountain, there will be over 70 yogurt locations across the United States through the combination of Yogurtini and Rocky Mountain. Both companies believe that the competitive edge of their franchises will increase through coming together as one corporation. This creates endless possibilities of new improvements for both Yogurtini and Rocky Mountain, making the future of the acquisition more exciting.

Vanguard is proud of the Nelson sisters and excited to see where their success will take them next! For more information about the Nelson sisters and their Yogurtini adventure, visit the Yogurtini website to see how Rocky Mountain’s acquisition will help Yogurtini to continue to spread across the nation!