Dinner Rally is a tradition more than five decades old, one which Azusa Pacific University President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, said is "God's call to cultivate a culture of scholarship that transcends the ordinary and aspires to His excellence." This annual occasion is not only an event to raise scholarship funds, but a restatement and reflection of the president's vision for APU: to be a Christ-centered institution, one that gives hope to the community and transforms lives through scholarship. "This Is the Life Worth Living," the theme for the evening, was manifested through exhibitions of alumni, student, and faculty achievement. This theme was notably underscored by live demonstrations of students creating pottery, a clear example of the benefits of scholarship.

The night kicked off with an award ceremony recognizing the achievements of outstanding and distinguished alumni. Malcolm R. Robertson '44, ThB. '50, Ed.D., a man who held 10 different positions at APU during his 40 years of service, including executive and academic vice president, was presented with the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award. Additionally, Steve Hindalong '81 was presented with the 2003 Outstanding Achievement Alumni Award for his exceptional contributions to the Christian music industry. "I want to encourage the students to persevere because it takes a while to do what you want to do," Hindalong said in his acceptance speech. Both of these awards were highlighted by a short video documentary displaying the achievement for which they were awarded.

After a dinner accompanied by the sounds of classical guitars and African percussion, performed by a trio of students, Chris Brown '95, campus pastor, set the stage for the main event. The theme, "This Is the Life," was aptly exemplified through a short video featuring APU students. "How do we impact students?" was the question to be answered on the big screen. Respondents attested to the advantage of being able to have religious discussions with friends from all walks of life, and the profundity of being spiritually impacted by a chapel speaker.

Wallace gave the final remarks, an eloquent closing to the night's festivities. Tying in the aspect of pottery as not only an art form, but a befitting spiritual metaphor, Wallace said, "I sense here that God is making and molding this university for God-honored service. Our capabilities are boundless with a heart molded in relationship, feet molded in service, and a mind molded in scholarship." Wallace emphasized the importance of maintaining APU as an institution focused on God-honoring excellence, affixing the sinfulness of mediocrity.

The night closed with the Doxology, and the crowd filtered out. The student servers, most who rely on scholarship, began cleaning up. Though they had work ahead of them, they were satisfied. One student server, Stephanie McCall '05, said, "It's really encouraging to have so many people come out and be so generous to ensure that people can have an education. It's very admirable, and these people really care."

If the excitement present within the crowded event center wasn't enough to indicate the success of the evening, the $313,000 generously given by the 923 attendees was certainly adequate evidence to solidify that very suspicion.