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.
ALUMNI OF THE YEAR:
Erin (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.
KEITH AND BONNIE BRIGMAN
Bonnie (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.
YOUNG ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR:
DR. JESSE PAYNE
Dr. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2016.