Watch Saturday’s Commencement LIVE online!

View the 2011 Commencement for the Undergraduate College LIVE from Mariner’s Church at  The Commencement Ceremony will begin at 9:30am on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

We know you’ll have your smartphones out to snap pics and text friends & family—while you’re at it, follow @VanguardU on Twitter to find live tweets from both Commencement ceremonies! Become a part of the conversation and tweet about Commencement using #VUGrad

Vanguard Graduate Lynn Walkers Amazing Story

Lynn Walker is a Vanguard University student who is graduating from the School for Professional Studies (SPS) program on May 6, but this is only a small portion of her life, as she has a story unlike any other. At Vanguard, Walker is more than just a student, she is a collegiate athlete, a friend to many, and an inspiration to the entire community.

Walker, 50, was born in Camden, New Jersey as an only child and has been playing tennis since the age of 12, which led to her eventually being a four-year #1 singles player at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderhill, Florida. However, during her senior year, Walker’s father died and she made the tough decision to put her dream of college on hold. After her mother passed away several years later, Walker went through a period of self-reflection where she came to the realization that she was missing something dear to her: a college degree. She decided to go to Santiago Canyon College in Orange from 2006-2008, and then eventually decided to pursue her Bachelor’s degree at Vanguard University.

While at Vanguard, Walker talked to tennis coach Mattias Johansson and eventually earned a spot on the highly successful and nationally recognized women’s tennis team. She was thrilled to receive the opportunity to play tennis as a 50-year-old student-athlete, where she was quite successful on the court, while in conjunction with fulfilling her dream of receiving a college degree. However, her story was about to take an even more dramatic turn.

Walker was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer during her time at Vanguard that brought her world crashing down. She was told she had a 30% chance of losing her leg due to a tumor that had grown inside and things were not looking good.

Due to only what can only be described as a miracle, Walker survived the surgery to remove the tumor with both legs in tact, and was told a short while later that she was cancer-free. To add to it all, she came to find out from doctors that the large tumor in her leg had been there for several years, not just a short amount of time. “The realization that I played college tennis at my age, with a giant tumor in my calf, is an absolute testament to God’s grace.” says Walker.

All of this leads to this week, which will consist of all of Vanguard University’s commencement ceremonies. Walker, an SPS student, will be graduating on Friday, May 6, and will also attend Baccalaureate to spend time and make memories with the many friends she has accumulated through her time at Vanguard, especially her friends from the tennis team. When Vanguard found out Ms. Walker was currently in a wheelchair and unable to drive, they found her a driver so that she could attend both Baccalaureate and her SPS commencement.

“What Vanguard is doing not only promotes the integrity and character of the Vanguard administration, it, most importantly, glorifies God,” says Walker.

Vanguard is not only proud to call Lynn Walker an alum, but an inspiration to the entire community.

Vanguard University Commencement 2011

The Vanguard University Commencement ceremonies May 5-7 will mark the achievements of Vanguard’s graduating class of 2011 as over 500 graduates from the college, the school for professional studies and master’s degree programs celebrate with family and friends.

On Thursday, May 5, all graduating students are invited to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 7:30pm to celebrate Baccalaureate, where associate professor of political science Dr. Darren Guerra ’91 will be speaking.

On Friday, May 6, the Nursing Pinning ceremony will take place in Needham Chapel at 9:30am. At 7:30pm the Commencement ceremony for the Graduate Programs and School for Professional Studies will begin at Mariners Church in Irvine. Jill Reza ’96, an attorney who practices employment law and business litigation in Irvine, will be the Commencement speaker for the event.

Two student speakers will also present at this ceremony. The graduate student speaker is Kristel Miles who is graduating with her master’s degree in Leadership and Spirituality. Miles currently serves on the worship team at Rock Harbor and also plays an active role in launching their new campus in Huntington Beach. The SPS student speaker will be Marlena Smith will be graduating with a degree in psychology. Smith is part of the Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology and works for FedEx. Smith also volunteers at the New Hope crisis counseling center and advocates for continuing education for working adults.

On Saturday, May 7, at 9:30am at Mariners Church the traditional Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will feature Dr. Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, one of the best-selling books of all time, as the keynote speaker.

André Abrantes will also address the graduates as the chosen undergraduate student speaker for the ceremony. Abrantes, who was born and raised in Portugal, graduated from the Portuguese Assemblies of God Bible Institute with a Pastoral Leadership degree in 2005 and came to pursue his education in the Music Department at Vanguard with Dr. James Melton in 2008. Abrantes has worked as an International Student Advisor, worship leader, and worship coordinator throughout his time at Vanguard. This is a ticketed event, so please make sure you have your ticket for the ceremony.

On Friday, April 29, Vanguard also honored their graduating veterans with their first Veterans Challenge Coin ceremony that took place at 5:30pm in the Scott Courtyard on the campus of Vanguard University. Over 50 people attended this inaugural event to honor the veterans that have worked so diligently to accomplish their degree.