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fantasia 2015

Vanguard University Awards Ralph Carmichael Scholarship at Annual Segerstrom Hall Christmas Concerts

“Christmas Fantasia,” Vanguard University’s annual festival of sacred and popular Christmas music, will be performed December 4 and 8 at two Orange County venues. The concert, presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank, will feature nearly 200 students from the University’s award-winning choirs and instrumental ensembles, and award two students with the prestigious Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award—named in honor of the legendary Vanguard alum, and composer and arranger for Nat King Cole.

“Our annual Christmas Fantasia concerts have become the perfect opportunity to recognize outstanding students from within our academic and performance programs,” said Dr. James Melton, professor and chair of music at Vanguard University.

The Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award was established in honor of the famous composer and arrangerwho studied music at Vanguard University – the first four-year college in Orange County. Carmichael graduated and went on to write arrangements for top performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Stan Kenton, while serving as musical director for I Love Lucy. The scholarship in Carmichael’s name was awarded to two recipients in 2014, both music and worship studies majors at Vanguard University.

“I was extremely overcome by the generosity of the anonymous donation and gift, which ended up being the exact amount I needed to pay off my upcoming spring semester school bill,” said Christine Correa, one of the students awarded last year, and the first in her family to attend college. Correa was also one of four students to receive the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Award last year.

Each year, students from Vanguard’s reputable department of music bring classic works to life, such as Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Performances at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church will featureVanguard’s Concert Choir, Orchestra, Women’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Barbershop Quartets, and the Vanguard Singers and Band.

Christmas Fantasia 2015 schedule:

Friday, December 4, 2014, 8pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 8pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall



Former Vanguard catcher and coach trades glove for pen as author of novel

The Orange County Register

By Richard Dunn, contributing columnist, Orange County Register

Former switch-hitting catcher Matt Dahlgren enjoyed a fine collegiate baseball career at NAIA Southern California College – now Vanguard University – and even coached at the private Christian school in Costa Mesa for a year when female pitcher Ila Borders was making headlines.

But no playing or coaching experience could prepare Dahlgren for the mission he later accepted – fulfilling a promise he made to his late grandfather by completing a manuscript.



Documentary Film on “Coaches’ Wives” directed by Vanguard University professor, and to be Screened Across the U.S.

Public screenings of the new documentary, Coaches’ Wives, will continue a nationwide tour this fall, with an online release of the feature-length film in January 2016. The film chronicles the unsung heroes of sports, the wives of coaches, and the joys and struggles of being married to a coach. A local screening was held at Vanguard University’s Lyceum Theater in Costa Mesa on Saturday, October 10, where more than 150 were in attendance, including local coaches and their wives who were featured in the film.

The documentary showcases the coach’s wife as the backbone of the family and the team, often serving as mother to the players, managing a hectic schedule and unruly fans. When a coach’s family is constantly in the public eye, like Jeanie Buss, wife of Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, the coach’s wife brings normalcy to an often-chaotic lifestyle.

“As the son of a coach’s wife, I have always known how important a woman is to her coaching husband,” said Jonathan Moore, producer and director of the feature-length documentary film. “No matter what level the sport is, professional, college, high school or below, coaches’ wives all experience the same joys and challenges. It’s a sorority, a sisterhood. This film will show that.”

Moore is also associate professor of cinema arts at Vanguard University. His wife, Karen Moore, who also produced, directed, and edited the film, is associate director and editor of Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC. Director of photography for Coaches’ Wives, Kyo Edmoundson, is a graduate of the communication department at Vanguard University.

The film includes Jeanie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers), Meo Stansbury (Texas A&M), Kathy Auriemma (Univ. of Connecticut) and Mindy Rice (UNLV). Numerous coaches’ wives at the middle school, high school and small college level are also featured, including Neezer McNab (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High School), and Daniela Olson (Manhattan Beach, Mira Costa High School).

Coaches’ Wives will hold screenings all across the U.S., including screenings in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Oregon. With nearly 100,000 plays on the online trailer, the LA Times recently said, “Coaches’ wives are as dedicated and determined as the coaches themselves.”

View the extended film trailer here:

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Vanguard University Opens Landmark Scott Academic Center For Students And Community

Vanguard University unveiled a dramatically expanded and remodeled Scott Academic Center on Saturday, October 3, to nearly 600 community members, civic leaders, administrators, students and others keen on advancing the history of this 95-year-old university – the first four-year college opened in Orange County. The expansion will allow for Vanguard to increase classroom capacity by approximately 1,500 students per day.

Grand opening attendees included Costa Mesa Council Member Sandra Genis, President and CEO of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce Kyle Woosley, and Senator John Moorlach of California’s 37th District.

“We offer this building as a public landmark, tying Orange County’s past to its future,” said Dr. Michael J. Beals, president of Vanguard University. “With its authentic Santa Barbara-style architecture, Scott Academic Center now serves as a welcoming beacon for a new generation of academics, idealists and thought leaders prepared to lend influence to some of the most-pressing challenges of our time, including the future of healthcare, social justice issues and the integration of military veterans into civilian life.”

Growth Prompted Need for Revamped Campus Hub

Vanguard University opened Scott Academic Center in 1976 to honor Dr. John B. Scott, the fourth president of the college, who also served as a professor, dean and librarian. The utilitarian design of the center met the needs of the student population at the time, and reflected the architectural style that defined the decade and matched the tempo of Orange County’s rapid growth.

Over the next three decades, however, Vanguard University evolved. Its student body population swelled, attracted to the institution’s liberal arts and professional studies programs. In turn, Forbes, Princeton University Review, U.S. News & World Report and others recognized Vanguard University among its lists of top colleges. Administrators realized the existing Scott Academic Center could offer greater value and command a stronger spot among Orange County’s rich academic community with an expansion and technologic updates.

New Center Prepares Vanguard University for Next Phase of Growth

In 2014, the university selected Anthony Massaro of Orange County-based Mars Hill Studio as the architect and broke ground on the redevelopment. Vanguard University challenged Massaro and his team to redefine Scott Academic Center as a spiritual and academic sanctuary to welcome students as well as a space for them to grow into leaders of tomorrow. In addition, university leaders desired an opportunity to begin its first stage of a cohesive design aesthetic throughout its campus architecture to pay homage to Costa Mesa’s earliest history as Native American and Spanish communities.

Vanguard University unveiled the newly remodeled and expanded Scott Academic Center to students during the Fall 2015 semester and to the public this past Saturday. During the grand opening ceremony, Dr. Beals unveiled more than a simple facelift of an existing campus structure. More so, Scott Academic Center now is the inviting “front door” to the university.

Redesign Permits Greater Student Collaboration and Creates a Public Landmark

Situated across from Orange County Fairgrounds on Fair Drive, the building features all of the earmarks of a city civic center, including a bell tower to carry the landmark upward into the sky. Although nearly 50,000 square feet in size, architect Massaro designed the substantial center to feel approachable, thanks to a series of rambling walkways, an outdoor courtyard and a lobby furnished with club furniture.

Vanguard University remodeled the original 23,076 square feet of the center and expanded it by 16,135 square feet to house all student services together – the first time in college history.

Within the new three-story education wing, students can gather in a nursing simulation lab endowed with technology and instruments found in major medical centers, the Global Center for Women and Justice, a Veterans Resource Center, and a Diversity and Inclusion Department. Ten classrooms with immersive technology to facilitate learning also were added.

Another addition is Samson’s Café, an eatery offering coffee and light fare. It’s open to students as well as the public, furthering Vanguard University’s ability to create a campus that serves as a community hub.

Vanguard University funded construction through a capital campaign supported by 350 donors who committed more than $7 million.


Association of California Nurse Leaders Announces President-Elect, Dr. Mary Wickman, Vanguard University Director of Nursing

Costa Mesa, CA, September 18, 2015 – The prestigious Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) professional nursing organization announced last week their new president-elect, Dr. Mary Wickman. The term is to begin in February 2016, and Dr. Wickman will serve as president-elect for the 2016-17 term, as president in 2017-18, and retain membership on the ACNL board of directors in 2017-18 as past-president.

ACNL influences health policy, advances professional practice, and provides networking and progressive leadership development programs to position nurse leaders influence the future of health care.

Dr. Wickman has been actively involved in ACNL since 2006, has been a committee member of the Member Experience Committee since 2012, and served as the past board representative south and chapter liaison in a two year term.

“I am honored by this opportunity to serve as President-Elect and proud to be a part of this outstanding professional organization,” said Dr. Wickman. “As President-Elect/President I will have the opportunity to work with nurse leaders throughout the state of California, advancing nursing professional practice, influencing health policy, and promoting quality health care and patient safety in our rapidly changing healthcare system.”

Dr. Wickman served for 21 years in the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps and is a retired Captain. She has an extensive background in nursing education, both administratively and as a faculty member, with research expertise in nursing education, adolescent risk behaviors, substance abuse treatment, and managed care. Dr. Wickman currently serves as director of nursing and professor of nursing at Vanguard University.

“I have always been encouraged by Vanguard in developing community, statewide, and national professional organizations as a service opportunity for the nursing profession and university,” Dr. Wickman said. “My professional involvement helps me to be more effective in my work as a professor, by keeping me engaged with state and national trends, and partnering with other local and statewide nurse leaders.”

Vanguard’s renowned nursing program is for students who desire to advance their careers by preparing to be health educators, college faculty, or community health leaders. Faculty in the program, like Dr. Wickman, are experts in the content area they teach, holding a masters or doctoral degree.

For more information on Vanguard University’s nursing faculty and academic programs, visit

For more information on ACNL, visit


Department of Theatre Arts Announces Orange County Premier in New 2015-16 Season

The Vanguard University department of theatre arts announces its 2015-16 season. The following five mainstage productions will be presented in Vanguard University’s Lyceum Theater:

  • A musical revue, The Beat Goes On
  • Life Without Parole, a contemporary drama
  • A new Christmas musical, Christmas is Here Again
  • A romantic drama production, The Winter’s Tale
  • The musical comedy, The Addams Family

The Beat Goes On will kick off the new season, in its return to the Lyceum Theater stage at Vanguard University. Longstanding faculty member, Vanda Eggington, will direct this production, along with the spring musical, The Addams Family. Life Without Parole was added to this season with a heavily revised script from playwright and Vanguard professor, Warren Doody. Susan Berkompas, MFA, chair of the department of theatre arts at Vanguard, will later produce Life Without Parole in Los Angeles, on a professional stage in 2016. Berkompas will also direct The Winter’s Tale, a timeless piece about jealousy, loss and forgiveness.

The 2015 calendar year will come to a close with the Orange County premiere of Christmas is Here Again, directed by Kevin Slay. This Christmas musical was originally cast by longtime friend, Rene Haynes, CSA casting director, as an animated feature, with a star-studded cast, including Kathy Bates, Ed Asner, Jay Leno, Andy Griffith, Shirley Jones, Norm MacDonald, and more.

This year, the National Association of Schools of Theatre accredited department of theatre arts is launching “Popular Demand,” a new improv comedy team. The new, student-directed “Cabaret Ensemble” from the department will also perform gigs and galas around Orange County and Los Angeles.

Season subscriptions to shows are on sale now by calling the theatre box office at (714) 668.6145. Individual tickets are for purchase at

For more information on Vanguard University’s department of theatre arts, visit


The Beat Goes On
September 18-20, 24-27, October 1-4

Life Without Parole
October 23-25, 29-31, November 1

Christmas is Here Again
December 3-6, 10-16

The Winter’s Tale
February 26-28, March 3-6

The Addams Family
April 8-10, 14-17, 21-24



Q Commons Hosts Event in Costa Mesa, Features Big List of Local Speakers

Q Commons brings the Q National event experience to Orange County, where the gathering will join 10,000 participants in over 75 cities, learning how to advance good in local communities. The program will be held Thursday, September 24, 7 p.m., at Wayfare HQ in Costa Mesa, California.

Q was founded by Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live The Gospel and Restore the World. Q was created as a place where church and cultural leaders could come together to explore ideas on how Christianity can be expressed within a cultural context.

“The next wave of Christian influence will come from the pews, not the pulpit,” said Lyons.

This year’s speakers at the Q Commons event include mayor of Compton, California, Aja Brown, Physician and Ebola survivor, Dr. Kent Brantly, and Q founder, Gabe Lyons. Dr. Sandra Morgan, director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University, as well as singer/songwriter and Vanguard alumna, Joy Olakodun, are also included as featured local speakers at Q Commons in Costa Mesa, on September 24.

“That kind of format allows Q to include both Richard Land from the religious right and Jim Wallis from the religious left; both will…discuss areas of potential agreement” said USA Today.

For additional schedule information or to attend Q Commons, visit


Service dog finds match in Vanguard University professor

Vanguard University chemistry Professor John Terhorst applied to Canine Companions for Independence in 2013 at his family’s urging and was later matched with his 2-year-old service dog Yan.

John and Yan gazed deeply into one another’s eyes. Their love was fresh, but it would last.

The two were introduced in February at a two-week retreat in Oceanside.

Leaders warned participants against setting their heart on a match until the end of the retreat, when formal pairs would be announced. But as soon as John and Yan met, they were inseparable. When the retreat ended, John put a leash on the golden-Labrador retriever mix and they went home together.

It might sound like a rash decision, but John had been thinking about Yan – or someone like him – since 2013.

Two years earlier, in his final year of working toward a Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale University, the 27-year-old sustained unexpected damage to his spinal cord during treatment for a congenital vascular malformation. After completing his degree, he moved back to California, where he had grown up, to be with his parents in Irvine.

Terhorst, who began using a wheelchair after the treatment left him disabled, felt little impetus to leave the house. When he did, he sensed people skirting by his wheelchair, discomfited by its presence.

His family suggested a service dog.

Canine companions

At first, John Terhorst, who began teaching chemistry in 2012 at Vanguard University, didn’t immediately buy in.

Read the full article on The Orange County Register website here.



Vanguard University Ranked Among The 50 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Vanguard University has been named in The 50 Best Christian Colleges and Universities list for 2015 according to Christian Universities Online. The independent online resource researches Christian higher education and posted a full web feature of top colleges and universities is available online.

In the school profile on Christian Universities Online, the trusted online guide acknowledges Vanguard University’s mission to equip each student “for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.” The guide also recognizes Vanguard for “its vibrant community, scenic and central location.”

The ranking was based upon publicly available data in the categories of faculty-to-student ratio, percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid, selectivity, overall retention rate and overall graduation rate.  Vanguard University was ranked #46 overall.

Christian Universities Online publishes rankings and reviews of the best Christian colleges and universities, information about Christian scholarships and financial aid, and many other resources for finding, getting into, and paying for a quality Christian education.  Christian Universities Online is committed to helping students and families pursuing a distinctly Christian education make the best use of their finances and gifts.


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.