A Graduation Story.

On this month of graduations, Dr. Jeff Hittenberger, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, shows how education and mission can come together. 

. . .

John Amos Comenius was a young teacher, pastor, and scholar, serving the small Christian community known as the Moravian Brethren (heirs of the Reformation legacy of John Hus). When the religious wars of the early 1600s swept through what is now the Czech Republic, his wife and children were killed, as were many other Moravian believers. Comenius led a small band of survivors across the border into Poland.

Comenius (1592-1670) would live the rest of his life in exile, shepherding the fragmented Moravian church. During 42 years of exile, Comenius became one of the world’s most recognized scholars and its preeminent educator. He advised kings, established dialogues with philosophers like Descartes, authored 150 books, and revolutionized European education with his ideas about teaching. Among other radical ideas: his notion that girls as well as boys should be educated and that all children, poor as well as rich, should go to school. Comenius’s influence was so great that he was invited to be the first President of Harvard College, but refused so that he could continue to serve his exiled church.

Today, Comenius is remembered as the father of modern education. What is less well known is Comenius’s role in launching the modern missionary movement. Two generations after Comenius’s death, the scattered Moravians were re-gathered in Herrnhut, Germany by Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf. Drawing on the writings of Comenius, the Moravians established a community deeply devoted to prayer, launching a round-the-clock prayer meeting that lasted for 100 years!

In 1727, a visitation of the Holy Spirit, known as ‘the Moravian Pentecost,’ empowered the Moravians to undertake a global missionary movement that changed the world for Christ. Especially notable (and controversial) were their missions to live with, evangelize, and educate the Africans who had been taken as captives to the Americas.

In Comenius and the Moravians, we see the power of God integrating spirit, mind and heart. Through Comenius and the Moravians, God brought redemption to millions of lives. May God likewise bless us with faith, learning, and a life that brings Him glory!”

To connect with Dr. Hittenberger, email jeff.hittenberger@vanguard.edu

Because of You

Meet Ashley Armendariz:

I have heard about Vanguard University all my life. I grew up in an Assemblies of God church, participated in A/G Fine Arts competitions, and am a part of an Alumni Legacy family, so as one would expect, Vanguard has been a part of my story before I ever arrived on campus. But was it where I wanted to go to college? It wasn’t until I attended PreVU that this question was answered. YES! I decided that Vanguard University was the place for me.

The feeling of community that I received while visiting the campus helped me dream big and envision myself being a student here. This comforted me in knowing that Vanguard would be a safe place where I could grow not only academically, but spiritually and individually as well.

I adore the people at Vanguard. Peers and professors alike, the people here are what makes it. As a senior Psychology major, I look back on my Vanguard experience and realize that I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. I had many amazingly deep conversations with fellow students, was challenged and cared for as an individual by professors, and had the opportunity to confide in staff members who I look up to as role models.

However, I would not be here without the financial support of donors and Alumni. The assistance from scholarships has provided me ways to grow beyond what I could have ever imagined and form those memories that I had hoped. I am so thankful.

This past weekend I graduated. I’ll be moving back to my hometown in El Centro, CA and will begin working in the ever-growing field of Special Education. I hope to pursue a Master’s degree so that I can have a career as a Behavioral Therapist for children with disabilities such as Autism. I also hope to start a family so that I can share stories with my future children about the wonderful people and great lessons learned at my Alma Mater, Vanguard University.

To God, my family, and the many donors who have helped make my story possible. THANK YOU!