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Vanguard University Remembers Dr. Randy Dovel

IG Dovel family

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of former Vanguard University faculty member Dr. Randy Dovel, on Friday, April 9.

Dr. Dovel came to Vanguard University in 2005 after serving as a tenured faculty member at Oregon State University. Having received his PhD from Texas A&M University, Dovel was a trained plant physiologist and served as chair of the department of biology at Vanguard University for four years, teaching courses in botany, genetics, microbiology and field biology. Dovel was an active researcher in the field biology, nitrogen fixation, and plant/pathogen relationships for nearly 20 years. During his faculty career, Dovel also was an expert researcher in plant breeding, plant molecular biology, and microbial water quality analysis. Dovel is a member of the Gamme Sigma Delta academic honor society and a proud recipient of the E.R. Jackman Team Award, recognizing team and interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Dovel was a teacher and mentor to countless biology majors at Vanguard. He touched many lives with his knowledge, wisdom, generosity, and love of Jesus Christ. Dovel took a special interest in his students, and in the senior projects he guided them through.

Dr. Dovel was married to Vanguard University staff member, Teresa Dovel, MA `09, for 35 years and is the beloved father of Kathryn (Kate) Dovel `07 and Kallie (Dovel) Thomson`08, and of two grandchildren, Ariella Dovel and Honey Thomson.

Above all of Dr. Dovel’s research and achievements in his professional field, he had an enormous love for Jesus Christ. Dr. Randy Dovel will be deeply missed by the entire Vanguard University family.Dovel.beach

Here is a slideshow of Dr. Dovel.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to Vanguard to provide a scholarship to future promising pre-med students.


Here is a slideshow of the entire memorial service.





2015 UG Travel

VU on the Road: Assemblies of God Events

Vanguard wants to enjoy refreshments and fellowship with YOU at these upcoming AG events! Check out the details of each event below: 

Wednesday, April 13
VU Gathering – Arizona Network Conference
After the Evening service | Room 206 and 207 (Without Walls Church, Mesa, AZ)
Coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet treats catered by Panera Bread

Tuesday, April 19

VU Gathering- Oregon Network Conference
After the evening service | Fellowship Hall Room 100-C (Parkway Christian Center, Grants Pass, OR)
Coffee and refreshments served

Tuesday, April 26
VU Gathering- NorCal/Nevada District Council
After the evening service | Parlour Room at (Capital Christian Center, Sacramento, CA)
Coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet treats catered by Panera BreadAssemblies of God

Tuesday, April 26
VU Gathering- Rocky Mountain Ministry Network
After the evening service | room 200 at ( Life Church, Salt Lake City, UT)
Coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet treats catered by Panera Bread





Portland: Alumni Event


We are coming to Portland, Oregon! Come have coffee with your fellow Vanguard University Alumni –


Wednesday, April 20
7-9pm | The Pied Cow Coffeehouse

Address – 3244 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214


Family and guests are welcome. We look forward to meeting you!


Vanguard University Alumni
(714) 966-5494 |


** Follow and TAG your event photos with – @vanguardalumni (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) **




Vanguard is Coming to San Diego

If you live in the San Diego area or are a huge baseball fan, then this alumni event is perfect for you! Vanguard invites you to join us at an upcoming San Diego Padres game. Interested? Look below for more details:



Save the Date: Washington D.C.

Live in the Washington D.C. area? If so, you are invited to join us for a special Vanguard Alumni event! If you’re interested check out the details below:

DC_2016 (2)

We would be very delighted for you to attend. Hope to see you there!


Ashley Espinoza

Ashley Espinoza


Ashley (Estrada ’08) Espinoza lives in Florida with her husband Christian, and is a singer with the Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney World. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from Vanguard University of Southern California. She also is a member of Sweet Adeline’s International and her current quartet, Windsor, came in 4th at International competition in Vegas this past October. She and her husband are expecting their first child in May of 2016.



  1. When did you start singing?

A: I started singing in church when I was 8 years old.

  1. How has music impacted your life?

A: Music has greatly impacted my life. I love to sing and have managed to make a career out of it, which is such a blessing. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to combine what their passionate about with their job, so I’m very grateful.  And, I met my husband through music.

  1. How did your time at Vanguard help you grow as a singer and/or person?

A: As far as my education goes, I received a well-rounded musical education,  that has greatly benefited me on the career path I’ve chosen. At Vanguard I studied classical voice, was involved in the Concert choir, Vanguard Singers & Band, and the Beautyshop Quartet. By going back and forth between different styles at Vanguard, it made me a versatile musician and has helped me land different types of gigs. Also, traveling so much with my ensembles at Vanguard has taught me how to get along with others in close quarters, and definitely prepared me for the work place.

Disney Voices of Liberty4. What have you been doing since your time at Vanguard?

A: Since I graduated from Vanguard, I worked at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian church for a few years, then I worked at Disneyland performing with a group called the Voices of Liberty for about a year. In 2013, my husband and I moved to Florida, and I started working at Walt Disney World performing with the Voices of Liberty (the Voices of Liberty have been performing at EPCOT since 1982). I am currently working there full time. I’m starting to do some studio work as well.

  1. What is Voctave and how did you get involved in it?

A: Voctave is an a capella group of singers from central Florida. We are a versatile group that can sing everything from arrangements of top 40 tunes, to musical theater, Contemporary Christian, Disney, etc.. I’ve worked with all the singers before and was asked to join.

  1. How has your life changed since being a part of this new adventure?

Ashley (Estrada ’08) Espinoza with fellow alumni Erin (Sears ’05) Basile

A: I’m a little busier, but over-all, my day to day life is basically the same.

  1. What advice do you have for current VU students who are involved in music or otherwise?

A: For those planning to be performers, get as much experience as you can (without neglecting your studies). And your reputation is as important, if not more, than talent. Be nice to work with! You’ll get more work that way. And vocal performers, take aural theory seriously! Sight-reading is so important, especially if you want to do studio work. My aural theory training has come in handy.

  1. Whether it’d be by yourself or with your group, what are your favorite songs to sing?

A: Jazz and big band songs! Especially anything sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

  1. What do you have planned for your music in the future?

A: Voctave is hoping to expand our repertoire with other artists and our own songs, and just see where that takes us.

Also, Voctave just came out with a Disney Medley music video that features Kirstin Maldonado from the famous a cappella group PENTATONIX and Jeremy Michael Lewis. Click HERE to watch the amazing talent that all of the artists bring to this video.

VoctaveTo listen to Ashley and Voctave’s music or keep up with current events, click the links below:

Ashley Estrada Facebook page:

Voctave Website:

Voctave Facebook page:

Voctave YouTube Channel:


Jonathan Rowden

Jonathan2Jonathan Rowden ’07 was born in north Los Angeles near Sun Valley. His father’s career as a pioneering worship leader and missionary caused his family to move around quite a bit and also sparked Jonathan’s love of music. He started playing the saxophone at the young age of seven years old, after hearing the sax player on an album his dad was recording. He served in music ministries and spent a number of years as a part-time worship leader/director at a small church plant in Orange County, but his interest as a jazz/creative musician only grew stronger. He graduated from Vanguard University in 2007; where he was classically trained by Ken Foerch and went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Saxophone/Jazz performance at CSU Fullerton. In 2013, he formed an original band, the Jonathan Rowden Group, performing exclusively original music for the first time.

  1. What instrument(s) do you play?

A: Saxophones (mostly tenor and soprano these days), some woodwind double like flute and clarinet. I dabble with piano, drums, and guitar, but mostly for writing purposes.

  1. When and why did you start playing?

A: I began playing the alto saxophone when I was 7 years old. My father was a singer-songwriter/Christian music pioneer when I was a boy (we spent a huge amount of time touring with him when I growing up) and he hired a Seattle-based saxophonist named Richard Cole to play on his second album (I think). I heard him playing in the DIY studio we had in the garage and I guess I really liked the sound and asked him to teach me how to play. My dad actually thought I was too little to do it, but Rich gave it a shot and gave me a few lessons. He got me started on all the fundamentals of the instrument, but we moved to California before too long. Somehow I managed to stay interested and continued to play independently until senior year of high school, at which point I decided I wanted to pursue the saxophone professionally. Most of my early life, I wanted to be a comic book artist, so it really took everyone I knew at the time by surprise.

  1. How has music impacted your life?

A: I suppose it’s complicated to describe, since music has been a constant in my life since I was a boy. When I would go to bed at night I’d fall asleep to the sounds of my dad writing music on the piano or guitar in the room down the hall, experience music in all sorts of situations, and had a really eclectic collection of CD’s, tapes, and some LP’s growing up. In order to say how it has impacted me, I’d have to imagine life without it. Music was a good friend to me in some pretty dark times. But once I chose to do music professionally, my relationship with music changed and went through many stages. I think it has given me a creative outlet that is very unique and allows me to really explore nuanced personal expression, and my faith both in the abstract and otherwise. Once I discovered that I could write music without trying to pay homage to any style or genre in particular, my eyes and ears really opened up.

  1. How did your time at Vanguard help you grow as a musician?

A: My time at Vanguard was spent building an intimate connection to my horn. I sacrificed a lot of time working on my playing. I was very focused – there were a lot of personal desires that needed to be put aside for the sake of the longer goals I had. My time studying with Ken Foerch was foundational, and his pedagogy of the saxophone is exactly what I needed at that time. I was always really self-motivated but Ken showed me that I could overcome technical and mental blocks that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Greg Glancey taught me a lot about Jonathan theory and really gave me the freedom to explore a lot of music that (believe it or not in a music program) other students would basically scoff at. In many ways, there were few students during my time at VU that were really pushing themselves, but I strongly believe that being in a small program where I wasn’t extrinsically obligated to “do thus and so” for 10 different groups really benefitted a self-motivated person like me, who had a LOT of technical work to do. I just took advantage of the time and hit the shed.

  1. What have you been doing since your time at Vanguard?

A: I completed my Master’s degree in saxophone/jazz performance at CSUF in 2011, during which time I created my band now known as the Jonathan Rowden Group. The band went on to release our debut album “Becoming” in 2014 on the Los Angeles based creative-music label Orenda Records, including a West & East coast CD release tour stint, and the album received a nice review in the world-renowned Downbeat Magazine. The Jonathan Rowden Group is now prepping/fundraising to record our second album, slated to hit the studio in April – there will be some previews available on my website. I’ve continued teaching in a number of different capacities over the years (something I began in 2004), and am currently serving as the adjunct professor of saxophone at Cal Baptist University and leading/or co-leading jazz/jazz-combo programs at a few high schools. In 2015 I founded Tear It Down Los Angeles | Orange County with is a non-profit organization that produces shows in OC and LA, featuring many of the brightest and best up-and-coming creative-music artists in southern CA. We will be producing a Downtown LA Arts District Jazz Festival the end of 2016. Finally, I created WYR which is the highly experimental side to my musical personality.

  1. What is your new film project about?

A: WYR TERRANIGMA is a full-length concert film (think about it like a live album but with studio-production value and incredible filming) of entirely improvised, experimental music. The core of the ensemble WYR is made up of two drummer-percussionists (Chris Wabich and James Yoshizawa) and myself on saxophones with electronic effects and gadgets. The group improvised on a loose-formal score of instrument/color/timbral cues. This sounds intellectual, but really, the music is pure heart – there’s almost no instruction, just play. For TERRANGIMA we invited two incredible vocalists Areni Agbabian and Joanna Wallfisch to join us. Areni also played prepared piano, and Joanna used a looper to created really interesting vocal effects. The collective sound is something with it’s foot in jazz, new-music (classical), electronic-ambient, and really just anything that feels right in the moment. With so much freedom, you’d think the music would lack focus, but because of the world-class musicianship of my collaborators, the music is incredibly focused and really “lives” in it’s own universe. I think that the best music does this – discovering the intended nature of a given musical moment, and finding a way to live it out to the fullest, or helping its natural direction come to fruition, is what makes this as focused as it is free. There was no rehearsal, only conversation. What I found is that if everyone’s personalities just “make sense” together, their aesthetic sensibilities can come together in some very surprising and beautiful ways during the performance.

  1. What advice do you have for current VU students who are involved in music or otherwise?

A: I think I have three suggestions. First, utilize those practice rooms and don’t be afraid to be a hermit. Good friends will understand. Secondly, don’t wait to start creating your own projects – this is a time in your life when you will (likely) have more time and opportunities to hone your craft than when you graduate and the real world sets in. Third, it’s never too soon to begin looking at what you want your career to look like, and to go out there and start creating opportunities for yourself. Find a mentor, get involved professionally, and never convince yourself that you’ve “arrived”. That’s an easy road to complacency and inactivity.

  1. What are your top five favorite songs to play?

A: Of the songs I’m playing with my band, I’d have to say I really enjoy two new songs I wrote and those of my bandmates. 1) The Wait (a electro-pop/drum & bass-meets-minimalism inspired original) 2) 133 (an ethereal original named after a lovely drive on an OC toll road which costs way too much) 3) Ruins of Númenor (an epic original composed by my bandmate Ryan Pryor) 4) Snowing In Paradise (an original song composed for my wife’s hometown of Paradise CA) 5) Can’t decide on the 5th…

  1. What do you have planned for your music in the future? Any other film projects possibly?

A. There are many exciting plans, actually. We will be releasing a new album this year (2016) with my band the Jonathan Rowden Group with plans to record in April/May. The band will be  performing at the incredible MENG CONCERT HALL at CSU Fullerton on March 12th (please join us). There is a possible WYR studio record on the horizon as well. Additionally, I am in the throws of crafting a vision for a YouTube series of short music films, exploring outdoor locations with improvised and composed material with a variety of collaborations. There are some other editorial things coming up that are really, really exciting for me but I’m not at liberty to share them publicly as of yet.

Jonathan R.As Jonathan had previously stated, he and his band are having a HUGE OC show on March 12th at Meng Concert Hall in Cal State Fullerton and would love for you all to attend. There, he will also be raising money for his NEW ALBUM! Click HERE for more details!

To listen to more of Jonathan’s music, keep up with current events or get into contact with him, you can visit:



Instagram: @JonathanRowden

Twitter: @JonRowdenMusic



Class Notes – Spring 2016



ALUMNI, we are gathering Class Notes for the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of the Vanguard Magazine!

Thursday, March 24
CLASS NOTES deadline
5pm | Online

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


EXAMPLE – “Joe McCarthy ’89 is the Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. He and his wife of 17 years have adopted two daughters, Eliana Joy (8) and Gabriela Grace (6). The McCarthy’s have lived in Brea since 2006.”


HOW to submit a Class Note:

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

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 permission to print it.


We look forward to hearing about what you’ve been up to since graduation!


Vanguard University
Office of Alumni Relations
(714) 966-5494 | alumni@vanguard.ed