Vanguard University celebrated graduates of the Class of 2016 from its reputable nursing program during the University’s Nursing Pinning Ceremony. The ceremony was held Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m. at Newport Mesa Church on the Vanguard University campus in Costa Mesa, where 40 nursing graduates received their traditional nursing pins.

The traditional pin that was given to each student contains two symbols—the Florence Nightingale Lamp and the traditional Christian cross—chosen by the inaugural group of students enrolled in the RN to BSN program at Vanguard University.

In addition to the pinning presentation, the program included a powerful address given by student speaker, Richard Moorehead, an ICU nurse for 23 years, and current ICU clinical supervisor at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.

Moorehead never suspected that he would be headed back to school at age 50. As an ICU nurse at Saddleback Memorial, Moorehead worked in the same facility as Paulette Scherr, a charge nurse and Vanguard University nursing student at the time. She motivated him to pursue his degree, and eventually, Moorehead enrolled and got started. Paulette Scherr graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanguard University in 2012, and soon after passed away after a battle with cancer. Moorehead knew he had to finish his nursing degree, with Paulette in the back of his mind.

“She was my motivator,” said Moorehead.

Just one month after completing his RN to BSN degree from Vanguard University last December, Moorehead was diagnosed with colon cancer. The news was a shock, and Moorehead found himself on the other side of the nurse’s station, in an operating room at the very hospital where he was employed. After one surgery, and a miraculous discovery of cancer-free lymph nodes, Moorehead was clear of the disease and on his way to recovery. A classmate and friend from Vanguard University’s nursing program, Marthasella Francisco, was his post-surgery nurse at Saddleback Memorial during his nearly 4 days recuperating.

Richard Moorehead completed the RN to BSN program at Vanguard University in December. He is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Laguna Niguel, California.

“When I was a teenager, a family friend’s daughter was becoming a nurse and I thought, ‘Who would want to be a nurse?’” said Moorehead. “But I saw how doctors and nurses worked so hard.”

Vanguard University offers two levels of nursing education—a Registered nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Both programs provide the theoretical knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for students to advance in the healthcare profession. The programs provided to students are designed to enhance patient well being in today’s complex healthcare environment. Vanguard University’s nursing program partners with hospitals including Western Medical Center Santa Ana and Anaheim, Coastal Communities Hospital and Chapman Medical Center to offer employees tuition discounts to assist nursing professionals advance in their field.

“It becomes a big supportive family here,” said Dr. Mary Wickman, director of Vanguard University’s nursing program. “Nurses are wonderful people.”

For more information on the weekend’s 2016 Commencement events, visit