President’s Circle Dinner Held in the Freed Center

The Vanguard tradition of gathering in a current construction project continued October 18, 2023, with the President’s Circle dinner being held in the Freed Center for Leadership and Service. More than 140 President’s Circle members shared a special evening of worship, heard from exceptional VU students, and a message from President Michael J. Beals, Ph.D.   

“It brought Faith and me much joy to be in the Freed Center for Leadership and Service, as it was the first of many great gatherings in this building. Being the first group to worship in that space was special for us,” said President Beals.  

In addition to worship led by the Vanguard Worship Collective, three students shared a bit of their VU journey, highlighting how they are preparing to be leaders in their organizations and communities.  
Montana Leyva ’26, a double major in Business Administration: Management and Theatre Arts: Technology and Design, shared how she is learning to trust God in the midst of uncertainty. “And while I am nowhere near ready to face the world quite yet, I am ready to be a light of Christ in it. A light that this world so desperately needs,” said Leyva. “I am excited to show others what it is like to be a Christ-centered leader. For, as in the scripture of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 
Born and raised in South Africa, History/Political Science major Amberly Gourlay ’25 felt called to attend school in the United States when the time for college came. “My move to Vanguard was full of purpose and divine intervention, but also challenging and uncomfortable,” said Gourlay. “The Lord has been scandalously faithful this season. It is a privilege to witness the glory He is working out at Vanguard University. I didn’t expect the Lord to bring me to Orange County, California to reveal His heart for refugees and I didn’t expect to be so blessed by the community here, but all glory to Him for working all things together for my good.” 

Communication major Jadyn “JJ” Johnson ’25 serves as vice president of the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), a member of Black Student Union, as well as a member of the men’s basketball team. “What I’ve learned is that there is something special here at Vanguard,” shared Johnson. “It pervades through professors, coaches, students, and our community. And there is a lot of light here that the devil does not want the rest of the world to see. It’s our job to make sure that we shine bright for God. I think Vanguard has equipped me to do just that by shaping me to lead in whichever industry I choose to enter- whether it be coaching or broadcasting.”  

President’s Circle is a group of donors dedicated to making a profound impact at Vanguard University. Members of President’s Circle give $1,000 or more each year, accelerating the vision and mission of the University. Joining the President’s Circle is an opportunity for you to partner with Vanguard University in pursuing knowledge, cultivating character, deepening faith, and equipping students–like Montana, Amberly, and JJ–for a Spirit‑empowered life of Christ‑centered leadership and service.