Student Speaker Announced for Undergraduate Commencement

Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 9:30am

André Abrantes is graduating with his bachelor of arts degree in Music. André was born and raised in a Covilhã, Portugal. In 2005, he graduated from Portuguese Assemblies of God Bible Institute with a Pastoral Leadership degree. From 2005 until 2007, he served as an associated pastor in a Portuguese Speaking Assembly of God Church in Paris, France. Thanks to Vanguard University, its Music Department and Dr. James Melton, he came to the United States for the very first time in January 2008 to pursue his education. Through his time at Vanguard, André worked as an International Student Advisor, a Worship Leader and a Worship Coordinator. This summer, he will be travelling with the Vanguard Singers and Band in Europe. André says of his experience at Vanguard that it, “was like living a dream.”

SPS and Grad Student Speakers Announced for Commencement


Friday, May 6, 2011 at 7:30pm

Marlena Smith graduates from the School for Professional Studies program with a degree in psychology. Marlena began her path to leadership in the JROTC, leading her classroom as company commander. At Vanguard University she was inducted into Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. Marlena works for FedEx as the head ACO for FedEx’s new ROADS program. Marlena is a volunteer at New Hope crisis counseling center and is an advocate for continuing education for working adults. Marlena plans on attending the University of Redlands to obtain her Master’s degree in counseling.

Friday, May 6, 2011 at 7:30pm

Kristel Miles graduates with her master’s degree in Leadership and Spirituality. Kristel moved here from Hamilton, Ontario in 2009 to continue her studies in Christian ministry and obtained her bachelor’s of theology at Master’s College and Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. Her education at Vanguard has enabled her to build upon her knowledge through a more specific focus on Christian leadership, better equipping her for life-long ministry. She is passionate about evangelism, worship, and helping teenage girls – and has enjoyed ministry experience in all three areas. Kristel is currently serving on the worship team at RockHarbor, and is also playing an active role in the launch of their new campus in Huntington Beach. She is excited about what the future will hold, and is trusting God to lead her steps following graduation!

Dr Rick Warren Announced as Commencement Speaker for Vanguard Universitys Undergraduate College

On Saturday, May 7, internationally renowned pastor, theologian, philanthropist and global strategist Dr. Rick Warren will be speaking at Vanguard University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.

As a pastor, Warren founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, which today has an evangelical congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and more than 300 community ministries for groups such as prisoners, CEO’s, addicts, single parents and those with HIV/AIDS. In a recent campaign that he led, Saddleback Church fed 42,000 homeless people with three meals a day for forty days.

Warren also leads a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries called the Purpose Driven Network of churches. To date, more than 400,000 ministers and priests have been trained worldwide, and almost 157,000 church leaders subscribe to his weekly newsletter, the Ministry Toolbox. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.”

Warren, as a theologian, has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Judaism, the Evangelical Theological Society and numerous seminaries and universities. He has six books known for explaining complex theology in understandable ways that have been translated into more than 50 languages.

As a philanthropist, Warren and his wife, Kay, have given away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by AIDS, Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries, and the Global Peace Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

As a global strategist, Warren advises a multitude of leaders in the public, private and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit and numerous congresses around the world. TIME magazine named him one of “15 Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004” and in 2005 on of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

For further information on Rick Warren, please visit

Jill Reza to Speak at Vanguard Universitys Graduate and SPS Commencement Ceremony

On Friday, May 6, Vanguard alum Jill Reza ’96 will be the commencement speaker at the Graduate and School for Professional Studies (SPS) commencement ceremony at 7:30pm at Mariners Church.

Reza received her bachelor’s degree through the SPS program at Vanguard before attending and graduating from USC School of Law, where she also served as the executive editor of the Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies. Currently, Reza is an attorney who practices employment law and business litigation in Irvine, California, while also counseling numerous companies and organizations in the areas of organizational human resources and general employment law.

Her legal career began at Irell & Manella LLP’s Newport Beach office, where she practiced general litigation and corporate reorganization, before later being recruited by the law firm, Carlton DiSante & Fruedenberger LLP, to practice and litigate all aspects of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, traditional labor law, trade secrets, wage-and-hour law and class action defense.

In addition to her legal career, Reza has taken on a passion for teaching at the undergraduate level. She is an adjunct professor at Vanguard, where she designed and authored the undergraduate law courses Legal Aspects of the Business Process in 2004 and Business Law in 2008. In 2005 she also began teaching at Whittier Law School, where she teaches upper level writing classes, as well as employment Law, Labor Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Estate Planning. Reza also spent a summer in Nanjing, China, teaching International and Comparative Employment Law to Chinese and American Students at Nanjing University.

For further information on Jill Reza, please visit here. For further information on the Vanguard University Commencement Ceremonies, please see here.