The night buzzed with excitement and joy. Friends and alumni talked and enjoyed refreshments as the sounds of Azusa Pacific University’s Jazz Band filled the decorated courtyard with song. It was that time again: Dinner Rally 2002 had arrived.

Azusa Pacific hosted its largest scholarship fundraiser, Dinner Rally, on October 25, 2002 in the Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center. This year's event featured the theme "Simply APU."

Throughout the course of the evening, guests saw simple people doing simple things that impact the world greatly. Part ask for scholarship dollars, part thank you to donors and friends, Dinner Rally highlighted the benefits and blessings alumni and friends had given to students through their generosity.

After the welcoming, Craig Wallace, director of alumni relations, presented the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award to Ray Johnston ’75 and the Young Alumnae of the Year award to Wendy (Brown ’94) Fox, and Stacey (Blackburn ’94) Gesinger. Each of these alumni exemplified servanthood and leadership.

“Ray had a great experience at APU. He’s always bragging about what a good time he was blessed with. It’s good to be able to help others achieve the same experience,” said Carol Johnston, the wife of this year’s Distinguished Alumnus.

After dinner, Campus Pastor Chris Brown, the master of ceremonies for the evening, interviewed students and intorduced videos that featured student-athlete Anthony Haggins ’02, Fulbright Scholar and APU faculty member Kimberly Battle-Walters, Ph.D, and student Diana Valenciano ’03. Their stories of scholarship and servanthood were highlighted.

During the meal and the program, guests watched four student-artists present their scholoarship: Nathan Huff ‘03, Erin Klaver ‘03, Jonathan Marrs ‘03, and Joe Milan ‘04 each painted one of the university's four Cornerstones: Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service. The paintings took shape as the evening unfolded. At the conclusion of the event, the pieces were available for a closer look and included in a silent auction.

“We’ve seen a lot tonight, and I think Jon Wallace has got a vision for the school that will allow it to thrive. Good leadership is key,” said Raymond Wells, an APU adjunct biology professor from 1967-69.

The school held its first Dinner Rally in 1950, raising $2,944. This year, the university set a goal to raise more than $250,000 to assist students in their academic career. As of today, $251,000 has been raised, $50,000 of it coming from APU faculty and staff, and $10,000 in donations from people unable to attend the evening.

For more information on how you can support the Azusa Pacific University Scholarship Fund, contact the Office of University Advancement at (626) 815-5333.