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Vanguard Early Childhood Education Chair and husband to cover college tuition for Class of 2032


Dr. Chun-Burbank, an early-childhood education chair at Vanguard University, grew up in South Korea. She said her parents couldn’t afford to pay her college tuition, but with her aunt’s financial support she became a first-generation college graduate.

“I like the movie ‘Pay It Forward,’” Chun-Burbank said. “I got a lot of help and now I’m helping others. And I hope they can do that too.”

Read the full story online here.


Theatre Arts Alumna Bretlyn Schmitt `15 Named Woman of the Year

by Tom Titus

There exists, right here in our own backyard, a wealth of theatrical talent. This newspaper has celebrated it for the past four decades, honoring, at the close of each year, two individuals who have excelled in their specialties, beginning with David Emmes and Doris Allen in 1974.

On this, the 42nd such occasion, the spotlight falls on a writer/actor who’s also a magician and a recent college graduate who has created some exceptional choreography during her time at a local university.

They are two people who charmed audiences at the Huntington Beach Playhouse and Vanguard University, respectively, during the past year — Scott Ratner and Bretlyn Schmitt, the Daily Pilot’s man and woman of the year in theater for 2015.

Read full article.


President Michael Beals named in Daily Pilot’s “The DP 103: Who made news and lent influence in 2015”

by Daily Pilot staff

The Daily Pilot released it’s “DP 103,” a list of those who made news and lent influence in 2015.

Named are the year’s newsmakers – including Vanguard University President Michael Beals, and Athletic Director, Bob Wilson. Read full article.



Vanguard University celebrates scholars during sold out performance at Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Vanguard University’s department of music performed their 19th annual Christmas Fantasia concert at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Tuesday, December 9, 2015. The festival of sacred and popular Christmas music was performed for a sold-out audience of over 1,600 Orange County concertgoers, all poised to share in the spirit of the season.

Nearly 200 students from the university’s award-winning music ensembles took to the sizeable Segerstrom stage, following a powerful Christmas prelude by organist, Dr. Jung-A Lee, on the 48-foot silver leaf pipe organ. After a rousing overture of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, the audience took to their feet and joined the university’s choirs and orchestra in a festival of classic Christmas carols. During the 90-minute performance, nine of the department’s 13 music ensembles filled the acoustically vibrant concert hall with holiday music.

A VIP reception was held at The Center Club, where red lighting, silver décor, and crystal chandeliers lit up the room of 250 guests including Vanguard University faculty, board members and community leaders. Hot cocoa, candied apples and eggnog were served amidst the Christmas trees and twinkling lights, while student musicians serenaded in the background. Vanguard University President, Dr. Michael Beals, and Vice President for University Advancement, Justin McIntee, took the stage at the reception to thank guests and honor top sponsors, Meguiar’s, Farmers & Merchants Bank, and Hoag Orthopedic Institute. Dereesa Reid, CEO of Hoag Orthopedic Institute, expressed her gratitude for Vanguard’s department of music and acknowledged the school’s distinguished reputation in higher education.

Vanguard University began its Christmas Fantasia tradition 19 years ago, with the Orange County community in mind. Since its inception, the concert has grown from an intimate dessert reception to a major event, now in its 6th year at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Since 2009, the concert has concluded with a special presentation of the Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award. This award was established in honor of the famous composer and arranger who studied music at Vanguard University—the first four-year college in Orange County. Carmichael graduated Vanguard and went on to write arrangements for top performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Stan Kenton, while serving as musical director for I Love Lucy.

During the December 8 Segerstrom performance, Vanguard University’s president, Dr. Michael Beals, awarded Janelle Harriman with the Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award for her outstanding academic performance within the university’s music performance program. Harriman, class of 2016 and a native of Vancouver, Washington, will receive her degree in worship studies, one of the newest majors of study at Vanguard University. Robert McIntire and Sarah Whaley were also awarded with $1,000 in music scholarship dollars, at the December 4 Christmas Fantasia concert, held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. McIntire, a sophomore, and Whaley, a junior, are also students in the worship studies program.

“The department of music at Vanguard University is a preeminent place to be exposed to the music and arts industry of Southern California,” said Justin McIntee, vice president for university advancement. “We are thrilled with the commitment of our donors and their support of our students—the next generation of industry leaders.”


Vanguard University Receives $2.57 Million U.S. Department of Education Grant to Expand Opportunities for Hispanic and Low-income Students

Vanguard University’s efforts to celebrate racial and ethnic differences in community life are accelerating, thanks to an infusion of funding from the U.S. Department of Education. As part of a more than $51 million federal grant for 96 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), Vanguard has received a five-year $2.57 million grant to strengthen and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students through its Diversity & Inclusion Department. Vanguard is the only four-year, Orange County-based institution and one of only two Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) institutions to receive funding.

Vanguard opened its Diversity & Inclusion Department in 2009 to encourage students to explore cultural diversity, racial reconciliation and gender equality issues. As a federally designated HSI – an institution of higher education with at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent undergraduate enrollment – Vanguard is recognized for making college more attainable for Hispanic students. This grant will allow the private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies to further educational opportunities for students through faculty development, curriculum development, academic tutoring and mentoring, and other services at through the department.

“Across the nation, more Hispanics are enrolling in college and Hispanics soon will represent nearly one in three American workers,” said Dr. Michael J. Beals, president of Vanguard University. “We’re committed to helping educate these emerging leaders and introducing them to ways they can transform the campus and their communities through their talent, faith and influence.”

Vanguard expects this grant to help more students access post-secondary degrees and credentials, which are key to building a highly skilled workforce. Plus, Vanguard aims to ramp up Diversity & Inclusion Department efforts to educate the entire student community about cultural diversity, racial reconciliation and gender equality issues. Already, Vanguard students like Heidi Lepe and Sylvana Marquina are stepping up to extend this consciousness beyond their campus.

Lepe, class of 2016, is promoting social and economic opportunities for Hispanics. This sociology major and recipient of a National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference scholarships for Latino students aims to help generate equitable opportunities for educational advancement, employment, and distribution of wealth and resources. As an intern at the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County, Lepe provides bilingual resources and educational support to families. She also works for the El Paseo Academic Program, helping dozens of K-12 students achieve maximum academic potential – an experience she intends to build into advocacy for Latinos in school.

Set to graduate in 2017, Marquina is a biology major and Hispanic Student Scholar. She juggles her undergraduate studies with an internship at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, and volunteered previously for John Muir Medical Center, delivering surgery schedules, training dozens of healthcare volunteers and delivering hundreds of lab specimens. At Vanguard, Marquina is learning how to become a healthcare leader who advocates for equitable healthcare access that includes affordable, high-quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate care in a timely manner. She intends to become a pediatrician.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Education funding, the campus Diversity & Inclusion Department also recorded another milestone this year. It was relocated to the newly commissioned Scott Academic Center on Fair Drive, which serves as the inviting “front door” to the university. The three-story education center spans nearly 50,000 square feet and increases classroom capacity by approximately 1,500 students per day.


Former Vanguard catcher and coach trades glove for pen as author of novel

The Orange County Register

By Richard Dunn, contributing columnist, Orange County Register

Former switch-hitting catcher Matt Dahlgren enjoyed a fine collegiate baseball career at NAIA Southern California College – now Vanguard University – and even coached at the private Christian school in Costa Mesa for a year when female pitcher Ila Borders was making headlines.

But no playing or coaching experience could prepare Dahlgren for the mission he later accepted – fulfilling a promise he made to his late grandfather by completing a manuscript.


fantasia 2015

Vanguard University Awards Ralph Carmichael Scholarship at Annual Segerstrom Hall Christmas Concerts

“Christmas Fantasia,” Vanguard University’s annual festival of sacred and popular Christmas music, will be performed December 4 and 8 at two Orange County venues. The concert, presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank, will feature nearly 200 students from the University’s award-winning choirs and instrumental ensembles, and award two students with the prestigious Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award—named in honor of the legendary Vanguard alum, and composer and arranger for Nat King Cole.

“Our annual Christmas Fantasia concerts have become the perfect opportunity to recognize outstanding students from within our academic and performance programs,” said Dr. James Melton, professor and chair of music at Vanguard University.

The Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award was established in honor of the famous composer and arrangerwho studied music at Vanguard University – the first four-year college in Orange County. Carmichael graduated and went on to write arrangements for top performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Stan Kenton, while serving as musical director for I Love Lucy. The scholarship in Carmichael’s name was awarded to two recipients in 2014, both music and worship studies majors at Vanguard University.

“I was extremely overcome by the generosity of the anonymous donation and gift, which ended up being the exact amount I needed to pay off my upcoming spring semester school bill,” said Christine Correa, one of the students awarded last year, and the first in her family to attend college. Correa was also one of four students to receive the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Award last year.

Each year, students from Vanguard’s reputable department of music bring classic works to life, such as Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Performances at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church will featureVanguard’s Concert Choir, Orchestra, Women’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Barbershop Quartets, and the Vanguard Singers and Band.

Christmas Fantasia 2015 schedule:

Friday, December 4, 2014, 8pm
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 8pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall



Documentary Film on “Coaches’ Wives” directed by Vanguard University professor, and to be Screened Across the U.S.

Public screenings of the new documentary, Coaches’ Wives, will continue a nationwide tour this fall, with an online release of the feature-length film in January 2016. The film chronicles the unsung heroes of sports, the wives of coaches, and the joys and struggles of being married to a coach. A local screening was held at Vanguard University’s Lyceum Theater in Costa Mesa on Saturday, October 10, where more than 150 were in attendance, including local coaches and their wives who were featured in the film.

The documentary showcases the coach’s wife as the backbone of the family and the team, often serving as mother to the players, managing a hectic schedule and unruly fans. When a coach’s family is constantly in the public eye, like Jeanie Buss, wife of Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, the coach’s wife brings normalcy to an often-chaotic lifestyle.

“As the son of a coach’s wife, I have always known how important a woman is to her coaching husband,” said Jonathan Moore, producer and director of the feature-length documentary film. “No matter what level the sport is, professional, college, high school or below, coaches’ wives all experience the same joys and challenges. It’s a sorority, a sisterhood. This film will show that.”

Moore is also associate professor of cinema arts at Vanguard University. His wife, Karen Moore, who also produced, directed, and edited the film, is associate director and editor of Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC. Director of photography for Coaches’ Wives, Kyo Edmoundson, is a graduate of the communication department at Vanguard University.

The film includes Jeanie Buss (Los Angeles Lakers), Meo Stansbury (Texas A&M), Kathy Auriemma (Univ. of Connecticut) and Mindy Rice (UNLV). Numerous coaches’ wives at the middle school, high school and small college level are also featured, including Neezer McNab (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High School), and Daniela Olson (Manhattan Beach, Mira Costa High School).

Coaches’ Wives will hold screenings all across the U.S., including screenings in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Oregon. With nearly 100,000 plays on the online trailer, the LA Times recently said, “Coaches’ wives are as dedicated and determined as the coaches themselves.”

View the extended film trailer here:

Find Coaches’ Wives on Facebook:

Find Coaches’ Wives on Twitter:


Vanguard University Opens Landmark Scott Academic Center For Students And Community

Vanguard University unveiled a dramatically expanded and remodeled Scott Academic Center on Saturday, October 3, to nearly 600 community members, civic leaders, administrators, students and others keen on advancing the history of this 95-year-old university – the first four-year college opened in Orange County. The expansion will allow for Vanguard to increase classroom capacity by approximately 1,500 students per day.

Grand opening attendees included Costa Mesa Council Member Sandra Genis, President and CEO of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce Kyle Woosley, and Senator John Moorlach of California’s 37th District.

“We offer this building as a public landmark, tying Orange County’s past to its future,” said Dr. Michael J. Beals, president of Vanguard University. “With its authentic Santa Barbara-style architecture, Scott Academic Center now serves as a welcoming beacon for a new generation of academics, idealists and thought leaders prepared to lend influence to some of the most-pressing challenges of our time, including the future of healthcare, social justice issues and the integration of military veterans into civilian life.”

Growth Prompted Need for Revamped Campus Hub

Vanguard University opened Scott Academic Center in 1976 to honor Dr. John B. Scott, the fourth president of the college, who also served as a professor, dean and librarian. The utilitarian design of the center met the needs of the student population at the time, and reflected the architectural style that defined the decade and matched the tempo of Orange County’s rapid growth.

Over the next three decades, however, Vanguard University evolved. Its student body population swelled, attracted to the institution’s liberal arts and professional studies programs. In turn, Forbes, Princeton University Review, U.S. News & World Report and others recognized Vanguard University among its lists of top colleges. Administrators realized the existing Scott Academic Center could offer greater value and command a stronger spot among Orange County’s rich academic community with an expansion and technologic updates.

New Center Prepares Vanguard University for Next Phase of Growth

In 2014, the university selected Anthony Massaro of Orange County-based Mars Hill Studio as the architect and broke ground on the redevelopment. Vanguard University challenged Massaro and his team to redefine Scott Academic Center as a spiritual and academic sanctuary to welcome students as well as a space for them to grow into leaders of tomorrow. In addition, university leaders desired an opportunity to begin its first stage of a cohesive design aesthetic throughout its campus architecture to pay homage to Costa Mesa’s earliest history as Native American and Spanish communities.

Vanguard University unveiled the newly remodeled and expanded Scott Academic Center to students during the Fall 2015 semester and to the public this past Saturday. During the grand opening ceremony, Dr. Beals unveiled more than a simple facelift of an existing campus structure. More so, Scott Academic Center now is the inviting “front door” to the university.

Redesign Permits Greater Student Collaboration and Creates a Public Landmark

Situated across from Orange County Fairgrounds on Fair Drive, the building features all of the earmarks of a city civic center, including a bell tower to carry the landmark upward into the sky. Although nearly 50,000 square feet in size, architect Massaro designed the substantial center to feel approachable, thanks to a series of rambling walkways, an outdoor courtyard and a lobby furnished with club furniture.

Vanguard University remodeled the original 23,076 square feet of the center and expanded it by 16,135 square feet to house all student services together – the first time in college history.

Within the new three-story education wing, students can gather in a nursing simulation lab endowed with technology and instruments found in major medical centers, the Global Center for Women and Justice, a Veterans Resource Center, and a Diversity and Inclusion Department. Ten classrooms with immersive technology to facilitate learning also were added.

Another addition is Samson’s Café, an eatery offering coffee and light fare. It’s open to students as well as the public, furthering Vanguard University’s ability to create a campus that serves as a community hub.

Vanguard University funded construction through a capital campaign supported by 350 donors who committed more than $7 million.


Association of California Nurse Leaders Announces President-Elect, Dr. Mary Wickman, Vanguard University Director of Nursing

Costa Mesa, CA, September 18, 2015 – The prestigious Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) professional nursing organization announced last week their new president-elect, Dr. Mary Wickman. The term is to begin in February 2016, and Dr. Wickman will serve as president-elect for the 2016-17 term, as president in 2017-18, and retain membership on the ACNL board of directors in 2017-18 as past-president.

ACNL influences health policy, advances professional practice, and provides networking and progressive leadership development programs to position nurse leaders influence the future of health care.

Dr. Wickman has been actively involved in ACNL since 2006, has been a committee member of the Member Experience Committee since 2012, and served as the past board representative south and chapter liaison in a two year term.

“I am honored by this opportunity to serve as President-Elect and proud to be a part of this outstanding professional organization,” said Dr. Wickman. “As President-Elect/President I will have the opportunity to work with nurse leaders throughout the state of California, advancing nursing professional practice, influencing health policy, and promoting quality health care and patient safety in our rapidly changing healthcare system.”

Dr. Wickman served for 21 years in the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps and is a retired Captain. She has an extensive background in nursing education, both administratively and as a faculty member, with research expertise in nursing education, adolescent risk behaviors, substance abuse treatment, and managed care. Dr. Wickman currently serves as director of nursing and professor of nursing at Vanguard University.

“I have always been encouraged by Vanguard in developing community, statewide, and national professional organizations as a service opportunity for the nursing profession and university,” Dr. Wickman said. “My professional involvement helps me to be more effective in my work as a professor, by keeping me engaged with state and national trends, and partnering with other local and statewide nurse leaders.”

Vanguard’s renowned nursing program is for students who desire to advance their careers by preparing to be health educators, college faculty, or community health leaders. Faculty in the program, like Dr. Wickman, are experts in the content area they teach, holding a masters or doctoral degree.

For more information on Vanguard University’s nursing faculty and academic programs, visit

For more information on ACNL, visit