This is Dr. Mike Wilson. He is currently the Associate Provost and Dean of College. Students may recognize him as a professor of history in the classroom. In his downtime[BE1] , he enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and do-it-yourself projects around his house in Lake Forest. Every Friday, he makes pizza from scratch for the whole family.
Mike was born in South Africa while his parents were serving as missionaries for the Assemblies of God. Their family would eventually move to the San Francisco Bay area before settling in Costa Mesa, where Mike’s father, Lewis Wilson, began a 25-year career at Vanguard University as a faculty member and administrator. Mike attended Vanguard and graduated in 1983 with a bachelor of arts in English before pursuing his PhD in history at the University of California Los Angeles.
" I went to public schools all my life and I wanted to go to a place where students share my faith and my values. Vanguard was the only place that I applied actually.”
After graduating, Mike felt ready to travel and wanted to discover more about the world. The Lord had led him to Washington DC , where he became acquainted with the English Language Institute. He eventually agreed to teach English in China on a one-year commitment but ended up staying two years in the mainland and one year in Hong Kong. In 1987, Hong Kong was not considered a part of mainland China and was still a British colony. One of his favorite Chinese dishes is a breakfast roll called, "Cha Siu Bao" which is a steamed bun with barbeque pork or chicken inside. While in China, Mike also applied to UCLA, where he studied Chinese history. Shortly after returning to California to pursue his PhD, Mike married his undergraduate classmate Diane Sanchez at Newport Mesa Church and went on a honeymoon in Mexico. They first met as freshman at Welcome Week and continued to stay close after college. Today, all four of their children are Vanguard alumni. Their youngest, David, just graduated this May with a degree in Communication.
“While I was at UCLA, I was working at the University California, Irvine and also was an adjunct at Vanguard. So, I did a lot of teaching here. Keith Ewing, who was the English department chair at the time, knew about my interest in journalism so I taught a couple of journalism courses and John Wilson reached out to me to teach when they needed me to cover any classes.”
Mike finished his dissertation in 1996 focusing on Sino-American relations otherwise known as Chinese – US relations since the 18th century. He believes history has an insightful explanatory value that provides perspective on the world today. Throughout his study, he was able to dive into the three to four-thousand-year old empire of China learning more about the culture and also learned to speak a little bit of the language. From 2004 – 2015, Mike took a range of a 12-24 students to China as English teachers but also focused on witnessing to their surrounding communities. Besides China, Mike and Diane have been to different countries like Amsterdam, Prague, France, England, Canada and Mexico.
Vanguard is very thankful for Mike’s heart, leadership and commitment in providing a quality education to our students in and outside the classroom.
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