This is Katherine Tong. She was born in Los Angeles and moved to Beverly Hills when she was ten years old. Her favorite food to eat is either sushi or a Thai noodle dish called pad see ew. When she is not working, she enjoys walking her younger daughter, Amanda’s two dogs, named Karlie (chihuahua mix) and Tottie (brussel griffon, pug, terrier mix). She refers to them as her grand-fur babies. Katherine misses her older daughter, Danielle, Justin, her son-in law, and her 20 month old granddaughter, Charli, because they live in Buffalo, New York. She also misses her step daughter, Nicole, who lives in Seattle, Washington.
Katherine reflects back on her childhood, "When my parents immigrated here from Japan, my father worked as a gardener and my mother was a cafeteria worker for a while before becoming a custodian at Beverly Hills High School. You didn’t see people like us, being a minority, living in Beverly Hills, back then in 1970." Katherine grew up as a latchkey kid. When she was a young girl, she remembers being the one always bandaging her siblings and friends, slowly becoming more interested in the nursing field.
After graduating from high school in 1977, Katherine went to UCLA for a year and her mother encouraged to study political science, international relations. Katherine describes the beginning of her college education as dispassionate and recalls going bowling frequently with her girlfriends instead of studying for her classes. After deciding to drop out, Katherine attended a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) School in Santa Monica for a year, and became a LVN. She then attended LA County USC Diploma School to become a Registered Nurse (RN). There, she developed a passion to further her career in nursing and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and Public Health Nurse (PHN) certification from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Katherine worked as a PHN nurse with the Orange County Health Care Agency. While working at a senior center, she tested someone who was positive for a bladder infection and the patient asked Katherine to prescribe her antibiotics for her bladder infection. But it was not within Katherine’s scope of practice to prescribe medications. Katherine decided then that she could do more for patients and went to USC to obtain her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification. She keeps current by practicing as a Board Certified FNP. She obtained her terminal degree, a PhD in Nursing at USD.
"I started my first teaching job at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 2006 where I met Dr. Mary Wickman. I really loved her story, her faith, and what she was doing. I was very sad when she left and tried to follow her to Vanguard University. Unfortunately, there were no positions or programs available, but we kept in touch throughout the years.” Katherine retired from CSUF but went on to Azusa Pacific University where she chaired both prelicensure (LVN to BSN, and 2+2 transfer) and post licensure (RN to BSN hybrid and online, Bridge to BSN) programs. In 2018, Katherine saw an open position listed for a prelicensure chair position at Vanguard University. She was very excited and called Dr. Wickman who encouraged her to apply. Katherine had prayed a lot about where God wanted her to go next and after interviewing, she was offered the position.
Today, Katherine’s focus is to teach nurses who put God first, and who provide compassionate and safe care. She is married to her husband, Barney, who is half Japanese and half Chinese. Fun fact, Barney’s father was the 1960's Chinese American actor, Kam Tong, who is famous for his role as Hey Boy on the CBS television series Have Gun, Will Travel and as Dr. Lin in the movie, Flower Drum Song. Barney and Katherine’s first date was at the iconic beachfront Duke’s restaurant in Huntington Beach.
Vanguard is so thankful for Katherine and her passion for nursing. Pictured, is Kathy and her husband volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in honor of Kathy's step son (Barney's son) Evan who tragically passed from suicide. Kathy and her family miss him very much.
- university news