Laura Brock

Annual Run for Mercy: Brock Family Announced for 2015


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

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

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

In the midst of the fight, John began to reach out to his friends and family.  As texts and phone calls became too overwhelming, he decided to start a Facebook blog that would share Laura’s updates with any friends and family –  As Laura’s condition continued to worsen, an online giving campaign was created to help cover the costs of medical care, as well as other costs associated with taking time to stay near Cedars Sinai.  John has been overwhelmed with the support he has received from friends, family, and people whom he has never met.

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

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

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

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

Office of Alumni Relations
(714) 966-5494 |


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 |

I Wish We Had That

I remember reading Cry My Beloved Country and The Heart of Redness for one of my college assignments.  The books were powerful and compelling, but I learned much more about South Africa during my brief time living there.  First-hand stories, images, and food brought a richness I couldn’t experience in any book.  I enjoyed the books, but I wouldn’t trade my time in South Africa for anything.

How do we learn?  Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  Our professors impact our student’s intellectual, spiritual, and emotional growth, but class time is limited.  Next year, Vanguard is taking the approach to learning in a whole new direction.

Students who are choosing a minor in Spanish have a fantastic opportunity next year – and it will take place in their dorm room.  Students who are accepted can get practicum credit by choosing to live in a Spanish Immersion quad.  Students will not be required to speak Spanish constantly, but a professor will share weekly meals with these students, and well as other opportunities. This allows a great experience for students wishing to develop a broader cultural perspective, engage in local and global outreach, and market themselves in the workplace.  All levels of proficiency are welcome to this new Spanish immersion floor.

Vanguard realizes much of our learning happens out of the classroom.  This new relationship brings together faculty, student life, and the Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership.  I am thankful for this opportunity, but I wish we had that when I was in school.

Joel Gackle
Director of Alumni Relations


In the Crosswalk

On the President’s Day holiday, I was enjoying the day off by drawing hopscotch and pretend roads with chalk in our driveway for my three year old daughter.  The phone rings with bad news, and I head to the hospital immediately, while my husband takes the chalk reigns.

As I was on my way to Hoag Hospital I drove right by Vanguard University’s campus.  I was in a fog and all I could really think about was making it to the emergency room to meet up with my family as fast as possible.  As I was waiting at the stoplight, I look up and see Dr. Bill Dogterom walking in the crosswalk with a current student.  He was listening to the student intentionally. Then I saw him utter a few words, and I saw the student face relax– as if Bill had given him a good reminder that God was with him.

What was Bill doing there, on a holiday when the offices were closed and classes out for the day?  He was there to walk with students. He was there living out what we talk about at Vanguard.  He was being a professor, mentor, and friend.  He was exemplifying what we mean when we say at Vanguard goes beyond the classroom.

Thank you, God, for using Dr. Bill Dogterom to remind that student and me, about God’s faithfulness.  And thank you Bill, for living out your life in such a way that you point people towards Christ when you’re walking with them—and when they happen to see crossing the crosswalk.

Heather Clements
Asst. Director of Alumni Relations

You Can’t Read That in a Book

We have been blessed to see our alumni go on to receive advanced degrees from prestigious institutions including USC, UCLA, George Washington, Cornell, and many others – only to return and challenge a new generation of Vanguard students.  While our faculty receive top-notch academic training before returning, it is often what happens outside of the classroom that most impacts our students.

Do you remember what you learned in your 9:00 am religion class sophomore year – probably not, but do you remember a summer mission trip lead by Dr. Greg Austring?  Absolutely.  Did the finer points of Mao soak deeply into your everyday thinking – I doubt it, but do you remember playing noon ball or traveling to China with Dean Mike Wilson? Without a doubt.  Many of our faculty graduated from Vanguard, pursued their dreams, and returned to watch new dreams grow.  You can learn from amazing professors at many institutions. Vanguard is a place where a book isn’t the end, but rather an entrance to a world of something much greater.

Joel Gackle
Director of Alumni Relations

More Than Just an Education

The book Tuesdays with Morrie struck a nerve with millions of its readers.  The struggle of a debilitating disease – matched with an unwavering spirit – was moving and captivating.  Each of us could relate to the author or the dying man in some regard, whether it was the pain of a loved one, or the memory of a long-forgotten friendship.  The passing of wisdom and courage to the next generation resonates with all of us.  At Vanguard, the story of a young man and his former mentor strikes a different nerve.

When people ask me why Vanguard, I say quite simply – it’s the people.  Vanguard is a unique community where faculty and staff care for the students who are navigating through a crucial time of life.  The relationships often go beyond the classroom.  My wife and I were counseled by a faculty member as we approached marriage.  We have current faculty who serve on various boards and advisory roles for alumni.  I spoke with one of our fine faculty members who reminded me that our faculty have married countless alumni, and even on occasion, overseen alumni funerals.

What other university provides an opportunity for students and alumni to connect with wise men and women after leaving this great school?  I don’t know, but I do a place where alumni can connect with a former professor and know she or he can hear from that voice of reason and wisdom who nurtured an important time in her or his life – even if it never results in a book.

Joel Gackle
Director of Alumni Relations