Thanks for the Memories

Select a decade below to explore the moments and stories that make up 100 amazing years.

20s
30s
40s
50s
60s
70s
80s
90s
00s
10s
Gratitude
Share Your Story
Let us know who had the most positive impact on your life as a student... +
0ss
Southern California Bible School Opens
1920: Harold & Huldah Needham open Southern California Bible School in the Highland Park neighborhood of... +
20s
Southern California Bible School Moves to Pasadena, CA
1927: With rapidly growing enrollment and the subsequent need for more space, Southern California Bible... +
30s
Southern California Bible School Becomes Southern California Bible College
1939: Southern California Bible School is chartered by the State of California as a college... +
40s
Southern California Bible College Moves to Costa Mesa, CA
1950: As the College continues to grow, land becomes available at the decommissioned Santa Ana... +
50s
I'm grateful for...
I remember a chapel service in 1964. Our administration and faculty had labored toward regional... +
60s
Southern California Bible College Becomes Southern California College

1959: Under the new name of Southern California College, the doors are open for the College to become
a Christ-centered liberal arts college.

I'm grateful for...
I am so grateful to Vanguard University that nurtured me into early adulthood — offering... +
70s
Southern California College Receives Accreditation

1964: After earning regional accreditation and membership in the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – SCC becomes the first accredited Pentecostal Bible college in the world.

I'm grateful for...
Vanguard has been part of my life since I was 19 years old. Over these... +
80s
1983 First Graduate Degree Program Launches

Southern California College launches its first graduate degree program: Master of Arts in Religion.

I'm grateful for...
From my classes, leadership positions on campus and volunteer work in the community, I was... +
90s
1999 Southern California College Becomes Vanguard University

University status is achieved and SCC becomes Vanguard University of Southern California. The student body selects the Lion as the University mascot.

I'm grateful for...
The lifelong relationships. The friends, teammates, and professors I met at Vanguard have been with... +
00s
2008 Vanguard University Wins First NAIA Championship

The women’s basketball team is the first Vanguard Lions athletic program to win a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I Championship.

I'm grateful for...
I am deeply grateful for my time at Vanguard. Vanguard provided me with tremendous opportunities.... +
10s
Vanguard University Recognized as "Hispanic-Serving Institution"

2015: Vanguard University is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an “Hispanic-Serving Institution” — one of the first universities in Orange County to receive this recognition.

Share Your Story
Let us know who had the most positive impact on your life as a student... +
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Vanguard University Recognized as "Hispanic-Serving Institution"

2015: Vanguard University is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an “Hispanic-Serving Institution” — one of the first universities in Orange County to receive this recognition.

Thanks for the Memories

Select a decade below to explore the moments and stories that make up 100 amazing years.

20s
30s
40s
50s
60s
70s
80s
90s
00s
10s

Class of 1961

Donald R. Woods
1961
Roseville, CA
I'm grateful for...
My valuable time at SCC to prepare me for Christian service. Upon graduation, I taught in Bible College in Hawaii, became Executive Director of State agency dealing with the drug epidemic. I was involved as a leader in the Jesus Movement in Hawaii and the Charismatic Renewal. I received a PhD in Clinical Psychology, in my 40 yr. private practice led over 1200 persons to Jesus who was the healer. I am grateful to God for using me in His Kingdom.

Class of 1964

Robinette Phillip D.
1964
Mission Viejo, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am grateful for a superior, fully accredited Christ-centered education with faculty who prepared me for the rigors of a PhD program and student peers who became lifelong friends serving Christ together in careers, creating positive change in a challenging world.

Class of 1966

Richard Varnell
1966
Palm Desert, CA
I'm grateful for...
I remember a chapel service in 1964. Our administration and faculty had labored toward regional accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. That day two great heroes walked into chapel together. They were Dr. O. Cope Budge our President, with L. E. Halverson, our District Superintendent and chairman of our board. It was official. Vanguard had become the first regional accredited college in the Assemblies of God!

Class of 1972

Mark Alan Thallander
1972
Palm Springs, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am grateful for the experiences I received in deepening my appreciation for the best in sacred choral and organ music, for integrating faith and learning, and for both faculty and student friendships which continue to this day! For more information about how my education in Costa Mesa impacted me, you are invited to read a more descriptive biography here! http://www.markthallanderfoundation.org/?staff=mark-thallander

Class of 1974

Barbi (Bethany) Rouse
1974
Irvine, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am so grateful to Vanguard University that nurtured me into early adulthood — offering me an outstanding education that prepared me to excel in graduate work eight years later; that challenged me and helped me grow in my walk with Christ while shaping a dynamic Christian world view; and that lavished me with the dearest of college buddies — friends for a lifetime. Almost 49 years later, I am still living out the impact of those years at VU!

Class of 1980

Lana Davis
1980
Garland, TX
I'm grateful for...
I was the volleyball and basketball coach for the young ladies and taught in the athletic department for the school years of 1978 to 1980. It was two of the greatest years of my 40 years of teaching experience. Congratulations to Vanguard for touching the lives of so many young people. God is Good!

Class of 1981

President Michael J. Beals
1981, 1989
Irvine, CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard has been part of my life since I was 19 years old. Over these many years (42!), I have come to realize the degree to which the foundations for who I have become as a believer, minister, scholar and institutional leader were laid in my time as an undergraduate and graduate student. Since that time, relationships with friends and mentors have continued to challenge, encourage and shape me.

Class of 1982

Ava Kate Evans-Oleson
1982
Lake Forest, CA
I'm grateful for...
My lifelong friends from Vanguard including my husband, shaping of my mind resulting in a passion for education inspiring me to pursue doctoral work, the leadership experience, professors whose words I still quote, memories of praying at the altar in chapel, praying in the little prayer chapel in the women's tower, late-night chats, radical spiritual formation - totally changed my entire life & set me up for a life success in every way.

Class of 1983

Al Moser
1983
Discovery Bay, CA
I'm grateful for...
I’m grateful for the friendships I made at Vanguard, the all the professors that cared about their students, and for the close proximity to Balboa and Huntington beaches. It was a great 4 years that prepared me for the future.
Tom Shirey
1983, 2018
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
I started 40 years ago at SCC as a freshman music/mathematics major. What impressed me most about Vanguard was the sense of community. Professors I had 40 years ago – Vince Gil, John Leverett, Larry MacHargue, Barbi Rouse – I still keep in touch with today. These people taught me, helped shape my life and still have influence over me today. Now I feel privileged to teach mathematics at Vanguard and hope to see other students flourish and grow.
Cahleen (McNutt) Shrier
1983, 1920
Azusa, CA
I'm grateful for...
The community that Vanguard has brought to our family. My sisters and I were raised from a young age on campus while my dad (Dennis McNutt) and later my mom (Charlotte McNutt) taught classes and my dad played pick up basketball. SCC was a second home; college students were our friends and sometimes babysitters. We made lifetime friends (Lew, Beth and Mike Wilson) with fellow faculty kids. Later, my sisters and I made life-long college friends!

Class of 1984

Rosemary Jackson
1984
Fountain Valley, CA
I'm grateful for...
God brought Dr. O. Cope Budge into my life. He asked me to work for him, & I accepted his offer. I worked for him & 3 succeeding Presidents—for 42 years. Dr. Paul Brown introduced me to John Jackson, whom I married & we had 34 wonderful years together until his death in 2002. I am also grateful for the opportunity to finish my degree at Vanguard. It was a joy every day to work with young people. Professors, staff & alumni became lifelong friends.

Class of 1985

Trisha Tipton Lunetta
1985
Newhall, CA
I'm grateful for...
My name is Trisha Tipton Lunetta and Harold and Faith Needham were my Grandparents. I did not have the honor of attending Vanguard University, but I am grateful for the amazing example of life that my Grandparents and my mom, Virginia Needham Tipton lived....serving and giving of all they had to spread the gospel and to equip young people to share Jesus. I love to see 100 years later the legacy they left, and excited to see it continue.

Class of 1989

Joe McCarthy
1989
Brea, CA
I'm grateful for...
...the deep relationships and amazing opportunities for growth and leadership, including R.A., Camp Teams (Delivery Boyz), Vanguard Singers & Orchestra, Prayer & Praise, Yosemite Botany Lab, and chapel worship team, just to name a few. The close-knit SCC community became my extended family. In fact, I loved it so much that I worked on staff for nearly10 years! My life would not be nearly as rich without the impact of SCC/VU.

Class of 1990

Christy (Varnell) and Bruce Durkee
1990, 1991
La Quinta, CA
I'm grateful for...
It has been nearly 30 years since we graduated from Vanguard, yet we find ourselves regularly drawing on the lessons we learned from our professors at Vanguard - business, religion and education department professors equally poured into our lives and prepared us for the ministry opportunities we’ve been given. Three decades later we are grateful again that our two daughters have been able to have the same great experience as students at Vanguard!
Scott Miller
1990
Westminster, CA
I'm grateful for...
The critical part that Vanguard, SCC, played in my life to put me on a firm footing. I’m so proud of the quality education I received. I fondly remember my professors, even 30 years later, such as Drs.' Jerry Camry-Hoggett, Murray Dempster and Vince Gill. They - and others - left such a positive impression and it has deepened my walk with Lord and how I study His word. I also met my wife, Marina, there! That surely has left a lasting legacy!

Class of 1995

Nicole (Thompson) Suydam
1995
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
From my classes, leadership positions on campus and volunteer work in the community, I was given the tools and experience to start my career in the non-profit sector over 22 years ago.

Class of 1996

Cathi (Smith) Hamen
1996
Mission Viejo, CA
I'm grateful for...
...God’s plan for me to transfer from Saddleback College To SCC/Vanguard to continue playing college tennis and attend a Christ-centered university to earn my BA in Liberal Studies. I went on to obtain my elementary teaching credential and MA in cross-cultural education at National Univ. SCC had so many opportunities for me: tennis team, small classes & student body size. Favorite memory: traveling with the W & M’s tennis teams to Hawaii in1994!

Class of 1997

Jeremy Moser
1997, 2004
Irvine, CA
I'm grateful for...
My life was shaped here. I met my wife at Vanguard. I became passionate about learning; not only in gaining the technical skills of Finance and Accounting, but also to focus on growing God’s kingdom.

Class of 1998

Justin McIntee
1998, 2009
Mission Viejo, CA
I'm grateful for...
Faculty that believed in me, when I didn’t believe in myself. They challenged me to excel academically and spiritually. By the time I graduated, I was prepared academically, my faith in Jesus was my own, and I knew my identity was in Christ.
Neal Thomas
1998
Long Beach, CA
I'm grateful for...
I might not have even made it through college without the outstanding financial package Vanguard offered me, coming from a town of 700 it was a stretch to even pay application fees for colleges. I met some of my best friends at SCC and even though I don’t see them all as often I still think of them fondly. From Prayer and Praise to cafeteria meals to working grounds crew for Phil and the floor retreats in Big Bear to camping in Joshua Tree!
Tara Henken-Rynders
1998
Anaheim, CA
I'm grateful for...
I met my husband my freshman year in 1994! We love Vanguard and my lifetime friends who are still a part of my life today. Barbie Rouse and Mandi Allen (Vidito) were essential to my walk with the Lord during my years there. Vanguard has blessed me so much, I’m eternally grateful!

Class of 1999

Jennifer (Zimmer) Johnston
1999
Redding, CA
I'm grateful for...
My decision to leave my full-time job at the age of 20 and attend Vanguard changed the course of my life forever. As an RA, I met my future husband, Peter Johnston, and we enjoyed 18 years of friendship and marriage until his passing in 2014. Together we pastored churches, led worship movements, started a home for abused children, adopted a son, and birthed 3 more kids. I’ve become a writer, published a book, and thank God for His hand.

Class of 2000

Jeff Jepsen
2000, 2000
Norwalk, CA
I'm grateful for...
giving me the education needed to administrate the schools I worked at these past 19 years. I'm grateful for giving my two daughters an education and for growing and challenging them in their faith. Lastly, I'm grateful that the Vanguard Singers mistakenly came to my church over 30 years ago one Sunday and I met my now wife, and a current adjunct professor, Teresa Jepsen.
Nathan Gonzales
2000
Washington, DC
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard encouraged me to personalize my faith through community and helped me find direction for my passion & talents. It opened a door to experience a life-changing semester in Washington, D.C., where I'm still working in media and politics, raising a family 20 years later. I viewed Vanguard as a stepping stone to transfer to a larger, better-known school. After a few weeks on campus I realized Vanguard was precisely where God wanted me to be.

Class of 2002

Heather Rachel Clements
2002
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
Our family loves Vanguard. Both Caleb and I had other plans for our university career, however, in the fall of 1998 we both found ourselves here and very happy about it. Over the four years we were both here as students, we made long-lasting friendships and met each other and fell in love. Having now worked here at this great place, it has been a wonderful adventure to see how God in his creativity uses Vanguard to change people's lives here.
Erin (Bongiorno) Donovan
2002
Towson, MD
I'm grateful for...
The lifelong relationships. The friends, teammates, and professors I met at Vanguard have been with me throughout the last 20 years as I have faced new seasons in life both professionally and personally. I can't imagine life without them.

Class of 2004

Mike Winakur
2004
Denver, CO
I'm grateful for...
VU changed my and my wife’s, Mindi Winakur (Bryant ‘04), lives forever. Mindi describes our time at VU as a holy moment, that we hold on to 12 years down the road. Over 3 years ago, Mindi and I started a church in Denver, CO. During the church planting I relapsed into a gambling addiction and struggled with depression. But by God’s grace and the tools that Mindi and I were given at VU, I was restored. Today, we are walking in grace and joy!
Anthony Jordan
2004
Modesto, CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard University helped me to complete the units I needed to qualify for the California child development director credential. This furthering of my education allowed me to be qualified for promotions and job opportunities. I used what I learned in my early education certificates from Vanguard both personally and professionally.

Class of 2006

Kerry (Cass) Kimble
2006
Ladera Ranch, CA
I'm grateful for...
My time here cultivated my love for serving and caring for people of all different backgrounds. Vanguard also instilled in me a desire to be a life long learner in and outside of the classroom. Because of my experiences, I pursued a vocation that combines my heart for serving others with my passion for learning through teaching and mentoring college students.

Class of 2007

Lauren (Walker) Mascaro
2007
Oceanside, CA
I'm grateful for...
the Vanguard community. Besides the lifelong friendships with teammates, the connections I made with VU staff, faculty, and students have shaped me. Now, I am so thankful that my daughter gets to experience the love of the VU community even in her infancy!
Evelyn Gutierrez
2007
Seattle, Washington
I'm grateful for...
I’m grateful for the life skills that Vanguard gave me as a religion major with an emphasis in Youth Leadership. I‘m grateful for the professors, such as Bill Dogterom, that invested in my educational and personal growth. The fact that Vanguard was a small school made it easy to build close relationships with other students and as a result I met some of my lifelong friends. My experience at Vanguard will always hold a special place in my heart!
David Oddo
2007
Anaheim, CA
I'm grateful for...
The incredible MBA program, caring professors, the Christian perspective and the opportunities that my education afforded me.

Class of 2008

David Asher Paltza
2008, 2018
Aurora, CO
I'm grateful for...
...our journey at VU being a very purposeful, God-ordained season of life. While earning my MSOP degree, I had the joy of working in Academics, Admissions, and the Registrar. Through our 5 years there, my wife and I endured child-loss and adoption and were so blessed to have the VU family supporting us throughout. Though we have ministered in over 20 countries now, we will never forget the lasting, godly impact VU had on us! Ephesians 4:12-16

Class of 2009

Ashley Waterhouse
2009
Lake Forest, CA
I'm grateful for...
Lifelong relationships built through Residence Life opportunities. Met my husband and three best girlfriends at VU!
Heidi Wilson
2009, 2012
Vancouver, WA
I'm grateful for...
The person I have become because of my Vanguard Family. I received the best education with a Bachelor's and Master's degree, which prepared me for a successful career in teaching. I developed a strong Christ-centered worldview from the caring faculty and staff who mentored me. I also made lifelong friendships and the best of memories that I carry with me. I spent 5 years at VU but I will always call it home!
Ashton Smith
2009
Granite Bay, CA
I'm grateful for...
A legacy of family who attended vanguard, without whom I may never have discovered this incredible school. I found my place, I found myself, I found deeper faith, and I found my husband at Vanguard.
Phoebe (Hernandez) Lucker
2009
Tehachapi, CA
I'm grateful for...
All the friendships I made my Freshman year! I'm blessed that we've remained friends to this day. I had great Professors who made such an impact on my life. I will never forget my time at VU.
Amanda Lebrecht
2009
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
I never imagined that accepting a job at Vanguard would result in a 20-year career and a lifetime of friendships. All of my earliest recollections of faith, fellowship and grace I owe to this place and those people. I’m honored to be an alumna of Vanguard University and excited to celebrate 100 years.

Class of 2011

Kayla (Holtz) Kelly
2011
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
When I think of Vanguard, I think of not only the institution but the people who make up Vanguard. My colleagues, my lifelong friends, my husband, and the students that I get to work with daily. The relationships that are built at this university are deep and meaningful, they have forever changed who I am. I will always be grateful for Vanguard.
Andre Abrantes
2011
Portugal, Europe
I'm grateful for...
I am so grateful for the way God has led me to this special place and for the impact that it had in my life. Thank you to all of those that believed in their God-given calling to serve people in this great place. It is incredible to think that this great institution has 100 years of history and that we get to be part of it. Vanguard is more than organization. Vanguard is who we are and we carry Vanguard story wherever we go.

Class of 2012

David Vazquez
2012
Orange, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am deeply grateful for my time at Vanguard. Vanguard provided me with tremendous opportunities. I look back at my time as an undergrad and am grateful for the relationships I developed and the opportunities I had to grow as a leader. I loved that I had opportunities to serve locally and globally and to make my faith and my education come alive.
Kyle Durham
2012, 2019
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard is unique in its ability to not only inspire but to equip the students to be able to inspire themselves and others. I came to Vanguard interested in becoming an English major and I left Vanguard a writer and future educator. Similarly, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but Vanguard showed me what kind of teacher I wanted to be. At Vanguard my story mattered when I most needed it to.

Class of 2013

Alexander Snow
2013, 2019
Woodland , CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard was a place for me not only to grow as a Christ follower whilst going to pursue my undergrad, but a place where I felt like I was at home. I met so many amazing people who have become extended family. I’m proud of being a two time alumnus from this amazing university.

Class of 2015

Corrine Meekhof
2015
Portland, Oregon
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard is where I met Jesus. The friends and mentors I met here allowed me to come as I was and ask hard questions that drew me closer to Jesus. I am so grateful for the ways I was challenged and stretched spiritually, academically, and relationally. Who I am today as a follower of Jesus, a friend, and a teacher has so much to do with how I was shaped during my time at Vanguard. Thank you, Vanguard!
Alyssa (Aragon) Beck
2015
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard taught me to never stop challenging the reasons why I believe what I believe. This has brought my relationships from surface level to great depths, and given me a confidence in who I am as a child of the one true King.
Lauren Tomsen
2015, 2016
Beaumont, CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard is where I really began to strengthen my relationship with Christ. Through Vanguard athletics I met life long friends, coaches and mentors. I even married my Vanguard college sweetheart! I am so grateful for everyone there who has impacted my life! Forever grateful to be a Vanguard Lion! #bobpride
Bobbi Joyce Velasquez
2015, 2017
Orange, CA
I'm grateful for...
I'm grateful for family legacy. I had the privilege to meet my Great Grandpa, O. Cope Budge and spend quality time with him before he died. He gave me my first Bible and taught me how to play solitaire. But most importantly, he was one of few in my life that planted the tiny seed of faith that has since grown into what it is today. I plan on walking in his footsteps and carrying on the VU family legacy; hoping to be as great a light as he was.
Nik Klungreseter
2015
Huntington Beach , CA
I'm grateful for...
Vanguard was my first experience at a private Christian school. What I learned there was friends were more like family and you could lean on them when things we're at their worst. I graduated in 2015 and when my brother passed away in 2017, my brothers from my years on the VU Baseball team were some of the first people to reach out. Vanguard creates lifelong relationships.
Marissa Coloma
2015, 2018
Harbor City, CA
I'm grateful for...
Going to grad school was never in “my plan,” but I’m so grateful that it was in God’s plan for my life. My time at Vanguard University was so special. Every lecture, every discussion, every assignment, was perfectly orchestrated by God to mold me, encourage me, and push me forward. Much of who I am today as a leader and pastor is a result of being a student at VU. I am forever thankful.

Class of 2016

April Conn
2016
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am grateful for my time at Vanguard because it provided me with the background knowledge and relationships needed to pursue my career post-grad. Because of the relationships I was able to develop with my professors, I was able to land a job in my field of study before walking across the stage and accepting my diploma.
Vandella Wright
2016
Portland, OR
I'm grateful for...
the profound impact that Vanguard has made on my faith. Vanguard was my safe place and home for undergrad and will always be the place that my faith was challenged and solidified. The staff and faculty cared for me and welcomed me into their families! The friendships I made then are proving to be the life-long friendships I always desired! I am so proud to call Vanguard home.
Samantha Doucette
2016
Irvine, ca
I'm grateful for...
my time at Vanguard. The relationships I built at Vanguard are still strong today. Without the experiences, connections, and education I received at Vanguard, I would not be where I am today!

Class of 2017

Julia Pohl
2017
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
I’m grateful for the friendships I had the opportunity of building while at Vanguard. The friendships I developed here will last a lifetime and for this reason I will always be incredibly grateful.
Sarah Godfrey
2017
Orange , CA
I'm grateful for...
the deep richness that VU has brought into my life. When graduating, I feared my friendships would dwindle with time and distance. In reality, Vanguard was only the beginning of these friendships that have only gotten sweeter with time and more life experiences. I will forever be thankful to Vanguard for my lifelong friends, the further development of my faith and education, and the staff and faculty mentors that I still learn from, even today.

Class of 2018

Bailey Lewis
2018
Rocklin, CA
I'm grateful for...
My faith and personal growth that happened while I was at Vanguard. VU was vital for me. I became my truest, Christ-fearing self because of the wonderful friendships and mentors Vanguard provided. (Thanks, Kasa and Nishie!)

Class of 2019

Andrew Diaz
2019
Costa Mesa, CA
I'm grateful for...
I am so grateful for the impact Vanguard had on my life. Vanguard taught me how to invest in myself and in community. I am so thankful for all of the amazing mentors that poured into me and for the all of the deep-rooted friendships I created.

Share Your Vanguard Story

Was your life positively impacted by your time at Vanguard? Are your friends or loved ones alumni? Share it here! In a few words, share your Vanguard story. Story submissions subject to approval and may be edited for space.

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