The campus, called the Southern California Bible School, opened in Los
Angeles at the same time the University of California at Los Angeles
"The Needhams decided that there was a growing Pentecostal movement in
Southern California, which required a Bible school," she said.
The state recognized what was merely a "training institute" as a
liberal arts college in 1939 -- one that granted degrees.
"There were lots of Christian colleges, but few that were accredited,"
Crenshaw said. "A lot of bible schools just did it to train their own."
It became Southern California Bible College, and then later Southern
She added that the change-over helped the school appeal to different
groups of students.
Vanguard moved to its Costa Mesa campus in 1950 and gained university
accreditation after adding a third masters program in 1999. The student
population is now more than 1,600.
Today, the curriculum offers bachelor of arts or science degrees, 30
majors, four masters degrees (including one in theological studies) and a
degree completion program at Vanguard's school for professional studies.
"From 1920, they were all religion students . . . but [now] we have a
variety of majors," Crenshaw said.
Vanguard is run by the Assemblies of God and its credits include
accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges,
approved licensing by the California State Board of Education, membership
with the Association of Independant California Colleges and Universities
and a spot on the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
"And the roots go back as far as 80 years," said Mike Bower, director
of public relations at the school.
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