In her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking”, Susan Cain opens by describing the cultural shift in American from a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality. The Culture of Character is defined as one in which people value honor, integrity, and modesty. Heroes like Abraham Lincoln are revered not only as a gifted communicator by as someone Ralph Waldo Emerson notes does not “offend by superiority.” The Culture of Personality, on the other hand, is one in which people are captivated by those who are bold and entertaining. Movie stars and celebrities become the heroes.
The shift was predicated by urbanization. In the agricultural society of the the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people lived and worked together in community. They lived together and interacted the span of their whole lives. By the early twentieth century, however, more than one third of the population lived in cities. Americans found themselves working no longer with neighbors but with strangers. Susan Cain writes, “‘Citizens’ morphed into ‘employees,’ facing the question of how to make a good impression on people to whom they had no civic or family ties.”
Cain notes the attributes of a Culture of Character: Citizenship, Duty, Work, Golden Deeds, Honor, Reputation, Morals, Manners, Integrity
The attributes A Culture of Personality: Magnetic, Fascinating, Stunning, Attractive, Glowing, Dominant, Forceful, Energetic
What is it that turns a group of people from different backgrounds that come from different places into a real community? At Vanguard, we call it our relational culture. Built into the fabric of our interactions at Vanguard is a culture that causes us to go beyond the normal definition of community, reaching out and connecting with each other. Vanguard is committed to fostering a Culture of Character, in the classroom, on the athletic field, on the stage, and in the living spaces of our students.
Truth, Virtue, and Service are the values of Vanguard University. Proclaimed by founders Harold and Hulda Needham, these values are pursued in all we do at Vanguard University. Professors who serve as mentors seek to form students in the image of Christ, who is Truth.
The Champions of Character program is at the center of athletics at Vanguard University. Student athletes are coached both in athletic skill and character formation, living into the virtures of integrity and honor in all relationships. Vanguard University athletics has received multiple Champions of Character awards for its commitment to the whole formation of student athletes, both on and off the athletic playing field.
In a world of personality and its pressure to manage what strangers think of us, Vanguard University remains a community committed to a relational culture. This is where the next generation of leaders, formed in the likeness of Christ, pursue an education in order to serve and further His Kingdom.