IG Award-Erin

2016 Alumni Award Winners

AlumniAwards_IG banner

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

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




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

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

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




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




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

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


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



joe manuel

Joe Lopez

fantasia articleJoe Lopez ’02 recently poured his experiences into the arrangements of this project.  He was born in a preacher’s home in Long Beach California where church songs became the norm.  He later attended Vanguard University where his love for old hymns developed.

“The wealth of theology and word imagery in the lyrics, the stories of the writers, and the unforgettable melodies were more than enough to motivate this making of a hymn album that would place familiar tunes inside a new and creative acoustic setting.”

He graduated from Vanguard in 2002 with a BA in Music Education.  He then toured with many different musical groups all over the world, including China, Spain, Peru, Central America, Israel and the United States.  In 2015 he recently released an album titled “The Hymnal” (by Joe Manuel).  The album is filled with ten of his favorite songs that one would typically see in a hymnal.  However, it is recorded with new acoustic guitar arrangements along with voices, violin, and piano.   It contains songs such as  How Great Thou Art, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, I Surrender All, Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and many more.

joe manuel

This album is available for purchase at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/joemanuel and is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.  Join us in supporting one of our Vanguard Alums!

run for mercy

Student T-Shirt Contest

(Pictured above: 2015 Run for Mercy)

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

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

 Contest Details:


5K Run For Mercy


All submissions must follow specific guidelines:

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


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


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



OC Register

Jeff Motske

Jeff Motske ’88
 graduated from Vanguard with a Business degree and reputation as a dedicated star baseball player.  He is currently the president of Trilogy Financial Services in fountain Valley.  He grew up living in the Orange County area and has continued to raise a family in the area after graduation as well as quickly gaining rapid success in his own financial business.  His success has only grown, both professionally and personally.  With coaching his children’s sports teams, playing on a softball team with his dad for 30 years, keeping up regular date nights and family times, Motske has definitely made an impression within the community of Orange county as achieving the balanced life.

His secret?  Jeff Motske says that he has a game plan for every day and challenges himself with the question – “What did I do that was productive today?”

In the OC Register article, Jeff Motske is an example of balance, motivation, and commitment
in every aspect of his life.

Read the full length article in the OC Register- News.  01.david_balance.0401.mg


Vanguard is Coming to Denver!

To our Alumni in the Denver area- we are coming and would love to see you!  On Wednesday, November 11 the Alumni Relations office invites you to join us for dinner and a Denver Nuggets game.  It will be a great opportunity for you to bring your entire family and catch up with fellow Alumni!

We will be eating dinner at 5:30pm and watching the game at 7:00pm located in a special meeting room at the Pepsi Center.  The cost is $10 per person, but tickets include dinner and the game.  We would love to see you and anyone else that you would like to bring.  However, space is limited so we need an RSVP by November 5 to Alumni@vanguard.edu or register online at: https://connect.vanguard.edu/event/event-registration—denver-alumni-event?srctid=1&erid=127401&trid=da69d158-a882-4fa8-a9ef-e66054a078d1.  Hope to see you there!


Coffee 1

Alumni Spotlight: NEAT Coffee with Ally Garvin

Ally 2It is very rare that you come across a Vanguard student that does not enjoy coffee, which is why we are so excited about the new coffee shop in the area that has been opened by our very own Alumni, Ally Garvin ’09.  We had the opportunity to hear Ally’s story, how she ended up at Vanguard and what pushed her to pursue her dream of opening a coffee shop in Costa Mesa. Ally grew up in Colorado with dreams of moving to the West coast and out of her land locked state.  After touring other colleges in Southern California that were not nearly as close to the beach, she quickly decided on Vanguard.  Her four years at Vanguard had a great impact on who she is today.

“My time outside of the classroom was just as influential as the time I spent sitting through great lectures and discussions.  Between friends, metnors and professors, I learned the importance of knowing myself and my strengths and understanding how I can uniquely play a part in what God is doing around me.  I learned how to be a good neighbor by walking alongside others to encourage them in using what they have to better their situation and their neighborhood.  I learned how to approach the world around me with a consistent and faith filled worldview and I will be forever grateful for my time here.”

Through Vanguard, Ally met some of her closest friends along with her husband, David Garvin ’09.  Shortly after graduating and getting married, Ally and DAvid moved to Uganda to work with Krochet Kids and 31 Bits which was fundamental to the shaping of their marriage.  During their year of traveling around Uganda, they were able to visit a coffee farm in the Mount Elgon region.  They were able to give a tour of the land and see every stage of the coffee bean from the cherry on the tree to stripping away the parchment to drying the beans to roasting them over a campfire and finally grinding and steeping those coffee beans in a French press the next morninCoffee 2g.  This full circle experience combined with Ally’s love for community and the way that coffee brings people together birthed a dream to one day own a coffee shop in what she now considers to be her home- Costa Mesa.  Since moving back to Costa Mesa, she worked at three different coffee shops learning and preparing for the day that she would be able to branch out on her own.  About two months ago, Ally’s dream was turned into a reality when she opened “Neat Coffee.”

Ally describes Neat Coffee as “Simple. Good coffee, good service, good community.”  Her goal is to let the coffee experience remain approachable and friendly, warm and inviting.  For the time being, Ally plans for Neat Coffee to remain a pop-up shop while she gains momentum.  As time goes on, she is striving to create a common space for people to gather.

“Shared spaces are vital for healthy neighborhoods and I plan to help create that type of space where everyone is welcome.  It will give local residents, students, business men and women, foodies and artists room to connect, dream and plan ways to better their community and see themselves as an integral part in a bigger story while they sip on the best coffee in town.” 

If you are in the Costa Mesa area, don’t forget to stop by Neat Coffee at Wayfare and enjoy the “good coffee, good service, and good community.”


Christmas Fantasia: Alumni Discount

Kick off the Christmas season with your Vanguard family!

Enjoy favorite carols and breathtaking masterpieces performed by Vanguard University’s 200-member choirs and orchestra on Tuesday, December 8 at 8pm in the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

We are offering our ALUMNI family a special discount to attend. This would be a great way to celebrate the Christmas season together! alumni discount

class notes

Class Notes: Fall/Winter 2015


Vanguard Alumni: We are gathering Class Notes for the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of the Vanguard Magazine!

They are the most-read section of the magazine, so we want to make sure as many Alumni are included as possible.

Class Notes are in these categories – 
Just Marriedbagwells2
Future Alumni (babies born among us)
In Memory (honorariums for those who have passed away)


Let us know what you’ve been up to since you graduated. Other information to include: Did you receive another degree? How about a promotion? Have you moved to a different state? Did you celebrate a special anniversary recently? Where have you traveled to? What has your church, family, and/or company been up to? All of this information helps as we write your Class Note for the Vanguard Magazine!




Carrie (LaRue ’98) and Scott Feitl ’98 moved to Lansing, MI in 2010 after Scott received his Master’s of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.  while in Lansing, Scott ministered as the Family Pastor and then the Executive Pastor at Trinity Church.  this year Scott has stepped out of the church and started a marriage enrichment ministry called We Connect Coaching (weconnectcoaching.com).  He now presents workshops at churches and meets with couples on-line to help them better understand themselves and each other, communicate effectively, and enjoy each other for life.  Carrie is kept busy working at a local priority school where she is working with staff and teachers as a data coach.  They have two beautiful girls, Sydney (10) and Ashlyn (6).


Now, HOW do you submit a Class Note? Don’t worry, it’s easy…

  1. Online at Vanguard Alumni website: http://www.vanguard.edu/alumni/classnotes/
  2. Email: alumni@vanguard.edu with Subject: My Class Note
  3. Mail: Vanguard University c/o Alumni Relations, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Deadline is November 2. Please send any information to us by then! Photos (landscape orientation) 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 permission to print it.

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