Building the City of Our Dreams

by Brandon Stirm '08

City of Dreams. The Canyon City. Our City. Azusa. "The new Azusa will be an unrivaled place to live, learn, earn, and play," said Mayor Joseph R. Rocha. "A city that goes from the list of the most challenged to the most improved."

On February 20, 2008, Mayor Rocha and several hundred community members gathered for the yearly State of the City/State of the Schools address. For 10 years, the Azusa Chamber of Commerce has sponsored this event to enable community members to hear from Azusa leaders about the challenges and opportunities faced by Azusa schools, government, and businesses. "At the heart of our challenge: We must invest in local business development and existing businesses, as well as our infrastructure so that we can be prepared to meet the challenges of our success. We must also invest in our residents so that they and their children can compete and win in the new regional economy," said Rocha. Following Mayor Rocha's address, APU President Jon Wallace discussed the university's commitment to the city, evidenced by the addition of two more Nancy Moore/Celebrate Azusa scholarships now totaling seven each year as well as ongoing ministry, service, and education projects. Wallace also noted the impact of APU graduates throughout Azusa Unified School District (AUSD), as teachers and coaches.

"For me, the significance was to be included with both Mayor Rocha and Superintendent Cervantes McGuire," said Wallace. "It was an honor to bring a "State of the University" perspective to this wonderful community and I firmly believe that our best solutions and celebrations are those we do together." Superintendent Cynthia Cervantes McGuire reported on AUSD and demonstrated students accomplishments through stories shared by there high school students. Finally, Mercedes Castro addressed the chamber efforts, highlighting new businesses and challenging attendees to "Shop Azusa." "That morning, numerous APU administrators, faculty, and staff attended," said Ginny Dadaian, director of the Office of Community Relations. "Our presence exemplified our long-term commitment to the city we call home and our genuine interest in community goals."