Meet the Alumni Relations Team

Joel Gackle

Director of Alumni Relations

Joel is responsible for cultivating relationships with alumni and increasing their involvement with the university, both in giving and participation. He supervises the management of the alumni online community and alumni communication, and contributes to the Vanguard magazine.

In his own words – “I would like to take a moment to introduce myself.  My name is Joel Gackle, and it is with humility and great joy that I have the privilege to continue with my position as the Director of Alumni Relations for Vanguard University.  I look forward to serving the community, and watching how God continues to use Vanguard to build His kingdom.  As I look at Southern California Bible School’s 1925 graduating class with eleven students, I can’t help but marvel at Vanguard’s incoming classes that continue to grow each year.

While serving our university, I have had the privilege of interacting with each component of our community.  I had the honor of serving as Resident Director of Balboa and Newport Halls.  In fact, this was the first home I shared as a newlywed with my beautiful bride Kristin. In addition, I have worked with our School for Professional Studies coordinating our business students.  I also attained my MBA Master’s degree from Vanguard.  These past years of service at Vanguard has allowed me to experience the vibrant community we all love. I look forward to expanding on the solid work that has already been done in the alumni office.  It is with your help we can make the alumni office a transformative department for alumni and current students alike.

Joel and Kristin welcomed their first son, Levi, into the world in June 2013.

If you are on campus, please stop by my office in Smith Hall and introduce yourself.
I look forward to meeting you!

Email Joel at

Heather (Rachels ’02) Clements

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

There is much to say about how much Heather enjoys working at Vanguard University. Her experience in the Alumni Relations office makes her feel even more proud of her education. Heather graduated in 2002 with a degree in Communication.

After graduation, she spent a year working in Vienna, Austria. She says, “It was amazing!” After coming home she married Caleb Clements ’02. They are happily married and have a home in Costa Mesa. Caleb, a worship pastor at Mariners Church, and Heather are proud parents to daughter Emily Ruth, 5, and son Charles “Charlie” Timothy, 2.

With Heather’s favorite word being “Accomplish,” it is sometimes hard for her to sit and relax. Lately, that stillness discipline is something she is tackling. Some things that help are: great meals with friends, Starbucks, Nashville, any sort of chocolate, fun conversation, hot french fries, Diet Coke, and her husband when he has had one too many Swedish fish candies.

“It is truly a privilege to serve you!
I look forward to helping you reconnect with your friends from Vanguard.”

Email Heather at


Lauren (Rogers ’09) RiddleLauren Riddle

Administrative Assistant for University Relations

Vanguard University plays a significant role in Lauren’s life. She is a third generation graduate of Vanguard University, and a proud Legacy Family member. After graduating in December 2008 with a degree in Business Administration, Lauren was hired as an Admissions Counselor where she recruited high school students. In August 2008, she transitioned to the University Advancement team.

After graduation, Lauren married Andrew Riddle ’07. They are happily married and just welcomed their first child, Avery Michelle, on July 13. Both Andrew and Lauren love being parents.

Lauren’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

“As an alumna myself, I look forward to meeting and hearing the stories of other alums, along with helping plan events!

Email Lauren at


Kelly DouglasKelly

Inauguration Committee Member

After being a student worker for a year and a half in the Advancement Office, Kelly graduated in May 2013 with her Liberal Studies degree. She continued her work in the office, but now as a full-time staff member! Currently, Kelly is on the planning committee of President Beals’ inauguration. Kelly enjoys having the opportunity to still be involved in Vanguard and work with such an amazing group of people. Some of Kelly’s favorite events that she has been a part of planning include: Christmas Fantasia, New Student Mugging during Welcome Week, Homecoming, and the 60’s Reunion. Kelly loves working with people and cultivating relationships.

Kelly was born and raised in South Pasadena and has three younger sisters. In the future, she hopes to work in a non-profit organization, with a job description of fundraising, philanthropy, and event coordination.

“Vanguard has shaped me in to the person I am today and It is a privilege to call myself an Alumna from this great school!”

Email Kelly at


Click here to meet the rest of the Advancement Team.

Vanguard Advancement Interns


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Niki Trueb
Hometown: Edmonds, WA
Sophomore | Marketing

Niki is a Vanguard Sophomore, studying Business with an emphasis in Marketing. Niki is from Seattle, WA so needless to say is enjoying every second of the weather in SoCal! This is her second year working in the Alumni Relations Office, and loves every minute of it. Niki’s favorite Alumni Relations events from last year include: Homecoming, Celebration of the Arts and Grad Fest.

After graduation, Niki hopes to travel the world either on business or doing Global Outreach.


Noel Larkins
Hometown: Placentia, CA
Senior | Psychology

Noel is a Vanguard Senior who is studying Psychology. He was born and raised in Orange County, and he loves living here.  This is Noel’s first year working for the Development Department, and he feels extremely blessed by this opportunity. Noel is on the Men’s Basketball team and encourages all staff to come check out a game or two! He also coaches a third grade basketball team which he absolutely loves.

After graduation, Noel hopes to go to grad school for Psychology, and then one day hopes to be involved in missions work overseas.


Haley Duffy
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Sophomore | Communication Studies

Haley is a Vanguard Sophomore Communication Studies major with an emphasis in Interpersonal Communications. This is Haley’s first year working for University Events, but that hasn’t stopped her from staying involved on campus. She is a part of Vanguard’s Student Government Association (SGA) as the Sophomore Program Director. The experience Haley has received from working with SGA and University Events has confirmed her desire to be an event coordinator one day, which always been a dream of hers. Next year, Haley will be the junior/senior RA over 3rd floor Balboa – she could not be more excited for the opportunities that lie ahead!