“This year, the Vanguard Sojourn staff chose to dedicate the yearbook to someone who we feel has had an immeasurable influence on the students represented in it: Dr. Edmund Rybarczyk. The wisdom, humor, Spirit-filled teaching and ministry experience that Dr. Rybarczyk brings to his job as Associate Professor of Systematic Theology truly epitomize a Vanguard education. He, as many other Vanguard faculty, challenges students to work through thought-provoking questions about their faith and worldview, while informing them with the knowledge and understanding that come from a life lived in God’s service.
Like many students who find themselves in a Rybarczyk class, after the first few weeks of hearing his lectures, I had already determined to take him again as soon as possible. This spring I signed up for, “Developing a Christian Worldview” claiming one of the last spots available. I went into my first class ready for another semester of being challenged in my faith and personal understanding of Christ, of repeating points from his lectures to everyone I knew (including my parents), and of trying to coerce all my friends into taking his next class with me. More often than not, the trend is that students who take his class once sign up to take another. The attractions is not only profound wisdom they find in his lectures, but also his heart for the students of Vanguard and his willingness to go the extra mile to develop relationships with them. Holding movie nights with discussions afterward at his home, treating students – even entire classes – to Starbucks and conversation, and being readily available to meet with and pray for any student who asks are just some of the ways that Rybarczyk demonstrates his love for the students of Vanguard. In turn, these students have come up with creative ways to express their admiration for him, including endearing nicknames, songs and chants of praise and even t-shirts asserting that they attend “Rybarczyk University.”
Student Body President David Vazquez has gotten to know Rybarczyk well over the years. Having taken four classes with him he can accurately explain why students so readily gravitate to him: “It is simple, Ed is held dear to the student body because he cares about us – not just our minds but our hearts, our successes and our pain. Ed has taught me to embrace my spiritual roots, but at the same time he has taught me that this should not stop me from thinking critically about what I believe. He has helped me to realize the importance of God not only to Society, but to my life.”
We have chosen to dedicate the yearbook to Dr. Rybarczyk to show our respect for everything that he has invested here at Vanguard, and to remind him that slowly but steadily, his relationships with students are helping to shape and fine-tune our worldviews and, consequently, change our culture. From every Vanguard student who has been blessed to know Professor Rybarczyk, we would like to extend a giant air hug; we hear your heart.
1 Corinthians 11:1
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
On Behalf of the Sojourn Yearbook Staff and the Students of Vanguard