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Senior Music Majors Tag-Team Their Final Recital

Double the musical genius, two of Vanguard University’s beloved students and twins performed their final senior recitals together on Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m. in Needham Chapel.

Before their graduation on May 8, senior music majors Christian and Christopher Lucas performed their joint recitals for professors, friends and family. Beloved, the twins hosted a packed house. Attendees experienced the culmination of Christian and Christopher’s four years of music studies as they gave separate, interchanging performances and then came together for a final piece.

On May 8, the twins received their bachelor’s of music emphasizing in music education. Answering the typical question that most all graduating seniors receive (what are your plans after graduation?), both Christian and Christopher said they will start with Vanguard’s one-year teaching credential. “One of my passions for sure is to teach music and inspire kids,” Christian said when describing his goals for the future. Agreeing, Christopher added that his long-term goal is to teach K-12 and to perform as a percussionist in a local symphony. While working for their credential, they said they hope to stay involved with Vanguard’s music department: Christian in concert band and Christopher in the jazz ensemble.

With grateful hearts, Christian and Christopher expressed gratitude and praise for the shaping and nurturing that Vanguard provided for them. “Looking back all the way to freshmen year, I can’t believe how much I’ve changed,” Christian said. “Everything I’ve been involved in at Vanguard has shaped me,” he added. Along with spiritual, educational and mental growth, Christopher said that Vanguard helped them to grow more in their individuality as well. Christian added that they “may look similar on the outside, but we definitely have different passions that God set inside us.”

Looking back on the years, they remembered multiple highlights with music and with their friends. One standout memory for both, but especially for Christopher, occurred their junior year. One late night, around 1 a.m., Christopher surprised their group of friends with the idea to suddenly drop what they were doing and drive to the Grand Canyon. After a little hesitation from Christian and some talking through things, the group hit the road. Not only was this a fun, memorable experience, Christian also noted that it was a great moment for them to see the benefits of their individuality.

After interacting with the Lucas twins, it is not hard to see why so many came to support them at their senior recitals.

To learn more about Vanguard University’s music department, click here.


Activist Shares Message on Simplistic, Christ-Like, Communal Living at Late Night

During April 9-10, Shane Claiborne, peacemaker and radical lover of Jesus Christ, spoke at multiple Vanguard University gatherings where he described the genuine, Christ-like faith taught in Scriptures and how his community practically lives out that teaching.

In the heart of the urban empire of Philadelphia, Claiborne started The Simple Way,a Christ-following community and nonprofit, or as their website states, “a web of subversive friends conspiring to spread the vision of ‘Loving God, Loving People, and Following Jesus’ in our neighborhoods and in our world.” As a radical follower of the teachings of Christ who has worked with Mother Teresa, Claiborne shares with audiences around the world how to live the way that Christ instructed and what that looks like.ShaneClaiborne_2

Along with describing the radical attributes of The Simple Way community, Claiborne described ways for attendees to practically enact the counter-cultural call of Christ in their lives. He said that a great guiding principle to live by is: “what does it mean to love this person right now?” Being in relationship with people is how we help resolve the issues of injustice in this world, he said. “When you have relationships with people affected by injustice, you can’t help but care,” he added.

Claiborne also talked about the importance of being an active member in a community today like the communities of the early church. “Part of why community is so important is because we bear the heavy days together,” Claiborne said at Late Night. At the student leader gathering, Claiborne added that “we can’t just have an idea or vision [for community or what radical changes we want to make in the world]; we have to love the people around us.” Near the close of the student leader gathering, Claiborne said: “It’s not how much you do, but how much you love.”

In an effort to encourage others to take more seriously the words and love of Christ, Claiborne travels and shares this message with communities around the world. He is featured on the blog, Red Letter Christians, which identifies its main goal as: “To take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture, and especially embracing the lifestyle in the Sermon on the Mount.” Claiborne is also the author of several books: Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom, Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, and The Irresistible Revolution.

To find out more about Claiborne and The Simple Way, click here.

Gratitude Week 2015

Students Thank Donors for Generous Giving

gratweekWords of gratitude fill and color cards at Vanguard University’s 2015 “Gratitude Week” as students thank donors for their life-changing contributions.

On April 6-10, Vanguard University is hosting the 2015 “Gratitude Week” to encourage students to remember the support they have received and to thank the many donors who have financially contributed to student pursuits in higher education. “One of the amazing things about Vanguard is that 95 percent of students get support from someone else’s giving,” the alumni relations coordinator, Lauren Francis, said. Along with funds to support and empower students academically, donors have contributed to The Pit (Vanguard’s gym), the weight room, equipment for athletic teams, the Veteran’s Courtyard outside of Scott Hall, the Lyceum Theater, and of course, the new Scott Building that is opening this fall.Gratitude Week 2015

Students interested in writing a card should visit the “Gratitude Week” booth that is setup outside of the cafeteria. Francis and others are there with the cards and some refreshments. It is well worth the five minutes it takes to write a thank-you card, Francis said. These cards are a simple way for students to express their gratitude for the generosity of donors.

For distribution, Vanguard’s alumni-relations team plans to send the cards with donors’ end-of-the-year giving statements. Learn more about “Gratitude Week,” by clicking here.


Black Student Union and Live2Free to Celebrate Black History Month with Special Speaker Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.

kbm_media1-880x1024Join Vanguard University’s Black Student Union (BSU) and Live2Free clubs as they celebrate Black History Month on Monday, February 9, at 10 a.m. in Heath 109.

In honor of Black History Month, BSU and Live2Free clubs will host an event featuring the founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI) organization, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. The event will offer students the opportunity to learn more about black history, specifically dealing with slavery in America, and the fight to end human trafficking today from a descendant of two of the most influential and important Americans in history.

Being the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington, Morris comes from a strong lineage of history-shapers. Both of these men played key roles in the civil rights movement from abolishing slavery to acquiring racial equality, and their impact led to Morris’s creation of FDFI. FDFI is an abolitionist organization that brings education about preventing human trafficking with the mission “To Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action.”

According to the Frederick Douglas Family Initiatives website, Douglass was a “brilliant speaker” who helped to lead the abolitionist movement to end slavery in the U.S. “Douglass provided a powerful voice for human rights during this period of American history and is still revered today for his contributions against racial injustice,” the website states. For Washington, the website states: “A man who overcame near-impossible odds himself, Booker T. Washington is best remembered for helping black Americans rise up from the economic slavery that held them down long after they were legally free citizens.”

To learn more about Morris and FDFI, click here.


Christmas Cheer Rings Clear at Annual Christmas Fantasia

rsz_1202142000With violins strumming, bells ringing and voices rejoicing, the beauty and wonder of Christmas filled the air at Vanguard University’s 2014 Christmas Fantasia concerts, presented by Meguiar’s.

Bringing in the Christmas season, Vanguard’s concert choir, women’s choir, concert orchestra and jazz band performed for the annual holiday celebration. The concert was staged at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on December 2 and at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on December 5. Both venues gleamed with Christmas décor.

As they say in the movie Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” With instruments and voices singing, Vanguard’s choirs, orchestra and jazz band decked the halls of both venues with Christmas cheer. Students, professors, staff, families and people from around the community gathered for the concerts.

At the Segerstrom performance, each note rang through the giant hall as the singers harmonized and the instruments played. After an opening song, the performers and attendees stood and sang traditional carols together. From there, the choirs, orchestra and jazz band took turns performing separately and together.

For information about Fantasia, visit




Dance Battles, Acoustic Love Songs and Swooning Ladies Mean One Thing at Vanguard University: Woofest

Woofest 2014With a theme resembling The Bachelorette, the men of Huntington Hall battled with dance and song to capture the hearts of the women of Vanguard University on Nov. 20 at the annual Woofest.

Dressed to the nines, as they say these days, Vanguard’s women strutted their heels over to Newport Mesa Church around 9 p.m. for a night of wooing. Greeted by a fountain, photo shoot and red carpet, the night was set for romance. As the men continued to escort ladies to their seats, every chair filled. By 9:30 p.m., the event’s scheduled start time, it was standing room only.

First up, second floor resident assistant (RA) Jonathan Schalembier’s floor took the stage. Dressed in black slacks, button-up shirts and red suspenders, they were ready to woo. In the weeks leading to this moment, the men of second floor put in hours of dance practice and vocals work. “It was pretty intense,” Schalembier said, “You want to put out something you can be proud of and that takes a lot of work.”

Looking back on the show, Schalembier said he was “really happy with the final result.” Most importantly, Schalembier wanted to give credit to the life-saving help he received in choreographing his floor’s dance. He wanted to thank theater students, Austin Nunn and Winter Bassett, for their amazing choreography work. Putting on Woofest is a “really big team effort,” Schalembier said. “It’s way more fun when you have people who are willing to help and support,” he added.

Watch second floor’s performance, by clicking here. Learn more about Vanguard’s Student Life and other events, by clicking here.


Women Gather to Watch “Miss Representation” Documentary

MissRepStoryWinner-712x310Female students filled Newport Mesa Church on Nov. 6 for an all girls movie night; however, unlike the setup would suggest, this was no romantic comedy.

Filing in for the 8:30 p.m. show time, women took their seats as the documentary “Miss Representation” prepared to start. Tackling the pervasive world of media and its inaccurate depiction of women, “Miss Representation” shows audiences the common theme that underlies all of the media’s interactions with women: disrespect. Reels and reels of advertisements, reality shows, movies, news clips, magazines and multiple other forms of media flash across the screen with images and sound bites of women being misrepresented and disrespected.

Lifting the veil, “Miss Representation” removes the media’s façade of equality and normalcy to reveal their over-sexualized, untrue image of women. The film points out the many issues that arise as young girls, and boys, continue to be fed this very inaccurate view of women. After attending the screening, junior Jackie Kong said she appreciated that “it wasn’t afraid to show what media is really like.”

After the documentary ended, Kong and others went to The Bridge for snacks and a small discussion. Looking back on the discussion time, Kong said: “I hope all these girls didn’t keep the discussion to themselves.” She said she was glad that the film opened up the conversation and she would like to see the men of Vanguard being educated on the issue as well. It’s important that “we don’t allow the over-sexualization or the media to control us,” Kong said. As a psychology major and women’s studies minor, Kong said: “This issue is something that I’ve been passionate about for such a long time.”

In a final note, Kong said that anyone interested in learning more about that topic and others like it should check out the women’s studies minor. To learn more about Vanguard’s women’s studies minor, click here. To learn more about “Miss Representation,” watch it here.

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“Nomads” Visit to Share Message of Hope for North Korea

Event_POSTERS-5[3]On Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., “Nomads” from the organization Liberty in North Korea will speak about their work rescuing and resettling refugees from North Korea.

Held in Vanguard University’s Needham Chapel, the chapel-accredited, dinner event will offer an opportunity for students to learn about Liberty in North Korea’s mission and how they can get involved. The chapel will feature some of the organization’s interns, “Nomads”, sharing stories and showing videos of North Korean college students who have been successfully resettled. The “Nomads” will also share about ways that students can take part in the mission.

Helping North Korean refugees reach freedom and thrive in their resettlement is Liberty in North Korea’s mission. Their “Nomads” visit schools and chapels throughout America and Canada to spread awareness about the issue and the opportunity people have to play a part in combatting it.

Having previously worked for Liberty in North Korea, Susie DiLauria, one of Vanguard’s marketing and communications specialists, provided the connection for Liberty in North Korea to have an event at Vanguard. DiLauria spent a semester working as one of the organization’s “Nomads” and then went on to work as a full-time staff member for a year and a half. Hosting the event, with the help of Vanguard’s Asian Pacific Islander Club and VU Rise Club, DiLauria said that the issue of rescuing, resettling and empowering people of North Korea is something she is very passionate about.

When discussing the importance of the organization and its crucial work in North Korea, DiLauria said: “I think North Korea is an issue that is widely misunderstood.” Most of the conversations do not adequately address the reality of the oppression that the people of North Korea are experiencing, she said. The members of Liberty in North Korea do a great job of unmasking the reality of the issue and the part Americans can play in bringing freedom and empowerment to North Korean refugees, she said.

Looking forward to the event, DiLauria said she is excited to see it “put a face to North Korea, the face of a college student, a face that is relatable.” Whether it inspires students to join in the efforts of Liberty in North Korea or in another world-bettering organization, DiLauria said she hopes that it “helps VU students broaden their worldview.”

To learn more about Liberty in North Korea, click here.


Christena Cleveland Shared Stirring Message on Unity and Diversity at Late Night

ChristenaClevelandA voice for unity and reconciliation, special speaker Christena Cleveland spoke at Vanguard University in a Thursday morning chapel and at the second Late Night event of the year on Nov. 6.

Speaking on the many underlying issues that lead to disunity, Cleveland mentioned three specifically: low self-esteem, the “us vs. them” mentality, and the general belief of people that their “other” does not want to know or be around them. She used experience and research to dissect each issue. She shared how these issues encourage people to separate further rather than come together.

Touching on low self-esteem and its hand in causing disunity, Cleveland described the classic bully mentality: put them down to put me up. She described a research study that found that when people with low self-esteem degrade another person, it boosts their personal self-esteem. So, when people experience low self-esteem, they are more likely to act prejudicial and unkind to someone different than them.

When addressing how to combat these issues of inequality, Cleveland said: “Make their story matter to you.” She described a relationship she shares with one of her neighbors who comes from a very different life situation than her and how she learns so much during her times with that neighbor. She said that it is crucial that we learn from those who are different than us to gain a more full, diverse perspective on life. We have to love our neighbor as Jesus did, she said.

To learn more about Christena Cleveland, read her bio by clicking here.


Vanguard University Veterans Honored and Celebrated at Veterans Day Event

rsz_img_9909On Nov. 6, Vanguard University hosted the annual Veterans Day Event to honor veterans and celebrate the Vanguard Veterans Center.

Held in the Veterans Courtyard of Honor, the event hosted more than 100 attendees, which included veterans from Vanguard and the community, students, alumni, faculty, staff and other community members. After the presentation of the colors by the Total Force Blue Eagles Honor Guard, the national anthem and the invocation, Master of Ceremonies Ed Arnold, a Marine veteran, opened the ceremony. Following Arnold’s opening remarks, Vanguard University President Michael J. Beals, PhD, welcomed attendees.

For the first speech, former veterans resource coordinator Brent Theobald ’11 shared some of his story as a member of the US Marine Corps. Theobald also presented a community volunteer award to Allen Klorsz_img_0125sowski for his generosity in donating time, finances and support to Vanguard’s Veterans Center.

After Theobald, the veterans resource coordinator, Brian Burlingame, spoke about the history of Veterans Day, his gratitude for the service of all those present and the future of Vanguard’s Veterans Center. “We are here to honor our brave men and women who have proudly served this great nation, for they are the fabric from which our flag has been woven,” Burlingame said in his speech.

Reflecting on Vanguard’s event and Veterans Day in general, Burlingame said: “There should never be a time when we don’t honor veterans, including their families.” As a retired veteran with 30 years of service in the Marine Corps, Burlingame knows the life of a veteran. As the new veterans resource coordinator, Burlingame said: “I think there’s significant opportunity to continue the hard work of those who came before me.”

rsz_img_0005Looking to the future, Burlingame said he, along with the rest of the members of the Veterans Center, have many goals for the future of Vanguard’s wants to continue deepening their connection with the community. In his speech, he said: “When I think of success for our student Veterans, I want them to have the same pride and camaraderie here at Vanguard that was displayed by them in their years of service.”

To learn more about Vanguard’s Veterans Center, click here.