Passing of Dr. Russell P. Spittler

Dr. Russel P. Spittler, a giant in Pentecostal scholarship and pillar in Vanguard’s academic development through the past six decades passed into that arms of Jesus on Friday, January 20. Dr. Spittler served Vanguard in different seasons and in numerous capacities including: Professor, Chair of the Division of Religion, Academic Dean, Provost, and Trustee, Interim Board Chair and Trustee Emeritus.

Dr. Spittler was one of the Pentecostal church’s premier scholars. He trained and equipped generations of ministry leaders and served pastors through his academic rigor, wise leadership and deep spirituality.  

Dr. Spittler began his service to Vanguard (then Southern California College) in 1967. His contributions as a member and leader of the faculty during this time would forever bolster the academic foundation of VU. He left Vanguard to serve Fuller Theological Seminary for nearly three decades as a faculty member and Provost. Dr. Spittler came back to Vanguard after retirement from Fuller to serve as Provost from 2003 through 2007. In that role, he guided Vanguard into a comprehensive university of liberal arts and professional studies. His stewardship of the mission is captured by his motto: “tend to the soul of Vanguard.” Dr. Spittler did just that in his last season of leadership as Provost and Interim Board Chair. Our gratitude for his life and leadership cannot be overstated. 

The fingerprints of Dr. Russ Spittler’s impact and legacy are forever imprinted on the University and generations of Vanguard faculty and students will be the inheritors of Dr. Spittler’s life, work and service. 

At the request of the family, Vanguard University is honored to host Dr. Spittler’s Celebration of Life service at our Costa Mesa campus on February 9, 2023 at 3:00 PM. Our prayers are with his wife, Bobbie, and his entire family during this time.