Vanguard University

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Vanguard University of Southern California
Vanguard University logo.png
Motto Truth. Virtue. Service
Type Private, non-profit
Established 1920
Affiliation Assemblies of God
President Michael J. Beals
Students 2,552
Undergraduates 2,482
Postgraduates 270
Location Costa Mesa, California, United States
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and gold
Nickname Lions

Vanguard University of Southern California is an accredited, private, non-profit Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies in Costa Mesa, California, United States.

Vanguard University is the first-four year college in Orange County and offers over 30 undergraduate degrees and emphases in 15 different departments. Vanguard University also offers adult-learning programs in its professional studies department and features six graduate degrees. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[1] Ranked #12 in the Western Regional Colleges in 2014, [2] The Princeton Review also named Vanguard University one of its 124 “Best Western” Colleges in 2014.[3] Vanguard is named in the 2012-13 Christian Colleges of Distinction and was 99th on the Forbes list of best universities in the West.[4]


During the summer of 1920, Harold K. Needham, D. W. Kerr, and W. C. Pierce opened a school to prepare Christian workers for the various ministries of the church.[5][6] The new institute, Southern California Bible School, moved from Los Angeles to Pasadena in 1927. In 1939 it was chartered by the State of California as a college eligible to grant degrees, and it became Southern California Bible College, the first four-year institution of the Assemblies of God. In 1943 the college received recognition by the government for the training of military chaplains. It moved to the present campus in 1950, becoming the first four-year college in Orange County. Its name was changed to Southern California College nine years later when majors in the liberal arts were added to the curriculum.

Regional accreditation and membership in the Western Association of Schools and Colleges were granted in 1964. In 1967 the college received recognition and approval of its teaching credential program from the California State Board of Education. In June 1983 the Graduate Studies Program received approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A Degree Completion Program was started in 1994 for adult learners. On July 1, 1999 university status was achieved when Southern California College registered with the Secretary of State's Office as Vanguard University of Southern California. The university comprises the Undergraduate College and the School for Graduate and Professional Studies.


Vanguard is in Costa Mesa, California, centrally located in Orange County and about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Organization and administration[edit]

In addition to its founding president, Harold K. Needham, Vanguard University of Southern California has had the able leadership of nine presidents: Daniel W. Kerr, Irvine J. Harrison, John B. Scott, O. Cope Budge, Emil A. Balliet, Wayne E. Kraiss, Murray W. Dempster and Carol Taylor. Vanguard inaugurated its tenth president, Dr. Michael J. Beals, on February 7, 2014.

Academic profile[edit]

The school offers undergraduate degrees in the following subjects:

  • Accounting
  • Bachelor of Music (majors in Vocal Performance, Piano Performance, Guitar Performance, Instrumental Performance, Composition, Music Education, Church Music, and Jazz Studies)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communication (concentrations in Communication Studies and Cinema Arts)
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • English (emphases in Literature and Textual Analysis or Writing)
  • General Music (emphases in Music Ministry and Applied Music)
  • History and Political Science
  • International Business
  • Kinesiology (concentrations in Exercise and Sport Science, Sport Studies, and Pre-Health Sciences)
  • Liberal Studies (emphases in Anthropology, Biological Science, Communication, English Literature, English Writing, History/Political Science, Kinesiology (PE), Mathematics, Music, Physical Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Theatre Arts)
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Religion (concentrations in Biblical Studies, Christian Formation and Discipleship Studies, Intercultural Studies, Pastoral Leadership Studies, and Youth Leadership Studies)
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Arts (concentrations in Performance/Directing, Technical Design, and Musical Theatre)
  • Worship Studies (emphases in Art, Cinema Arts, Communication, Theatre Arts, and Worship Leadership)

The school offers professional studies degrees in the following subjects:

  • Business
  • Early Childhood Education (A.A./B.A.)
  • Nursing (R.N. to B.S.N.)
  • Psychology
  • Religion

The school also offers graduate degrees in the following subjects:

  • M.A. in Education (with a Teaching Credential in Single and Multiple Subjects)
  • M.A. in Leadership Studies
  • M.S. in Clinical Psychology
  • M.S. in Nursing
  • M.S. in Organizational Psychology
  • M.T.S. (Master of Theological Studies)

Student life[edit]


Vanguard University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Lions, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Men's athletics has six teams and women's athletics has seven.

In 2014, Vanguard won the NAIA Division I men's basketball championship in Kansas City, Missouri.[7] In 2008, the women's basketball team won the NAIA Division I National Championship in Jackson, Tennessee.[8]

Athletic facilities[edit]

  • "The Pit" - Men's and women's basketball, Volleyball
  • Dean Harvey Field - Baseball
  • Soccer Complex - Soccer
  • Softball Complex - Softball

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status". Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Archived from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  2. ^ "Regional College West Rankings". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  3. ^ "Best Western". Princeton Review. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  4. ^ "Vanguard University". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  5. ^ Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Westminster John Knox Press, USA, 2002, p. 711
  6. ^ Peterson's, Peterson's Colleges in the South, Peterson's Publishing, USA, 2008, p. 88
  7. ^ "Vanguard Wins First National Championship, 70-65". NAIA. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Championship Records DI". NAIA. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Beenen, Gerard. "CSUF Department of Management". Cal State Fullerton. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°39′47″N 117°54′00″W / 33.6630°N 117.9000°W / 33.6630; -117.9000