Thursday evening, October 10, NNU students, friends, partners and alumni gathered with Boise Valley businesses at the NNU Centennial Gala. This black tie event at the Boise Centre showcased the University’s history over the past 100 years by telling the stories of its people. Twenty-two of 100 Centennial Medallion honorees received their awards while their stories of service to the University and world were shared in the context of the University’s four values: transformation, truth, community and service.

Medallion Recipients

"[T]he overwhelming turnout at this event really speaks to the mutual support between the University and Treasure Valley community." -VP Stacey Berggren

Over 800 guests attended the event to celebrate NNU’s contributions to and support from the Treasure Valley over the past century. Stacey Berggren, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing, said, “the overwhelming turnout at this event really speaks to the mutual support between the University and Treasure Valley community.”

The evening began with passed hors d’oeuvres in the grand lobby while guests perused historical displays and enjoyed music by NNU Jazz Revival. They were then served a three-course meal while experiencing a dazzling program that included live music, videos on three large screens and a variety of speakers. The honored guests included scientists, philanthropists, civic leaders, businessmen and women and an astronaut, among many others.

President David Alexander made the first presentation of four Centennial Medallions to civic partners who represent many whose generosity and vision helped the University take root and grow in the Boise Valley: John and Orah Brandt, Stan Olson, Ken Harward, and Harold and Phyllis Thomas. Vice President Joel Pearsall then presented the 2013 Eugene Emerson Award to the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce in gratitude for fostering a mutually beneficial spirit of cooperation between the Treasure Valley and the University.

The first of the four values of NNU presented was Transformation. Five Centennial Medallion recipients were honored as agents of transformation in the world: Kent Hill, Senior Vice President for World Vision’s International Programs; Jeff Carr, COO of the Special Olympics World Games; Perla Aragon, who works with the Los Angeles Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development; Tom Dale, Mayor of the City of Nampa; and Richard Hagood, NNU President Emeritus.

The dinner program included two performances by the NNU Crusader Choir and Orchestra joined by choral alumni and directed by Dr. Philip Miller. The final piece, “How Great Thou Art,” brought the crowd to its feet. Dr. Miller commented, “I’m incredibly proud of this group of students and their accomplishment tonight. It was an honor for us to perform for this significant event in the University’s centennial celebrations.”

Centennial Gala Slideshow

Featuring powerful presentations, impressive photo and video, choral and orchestral music and delicious food, the Centennial Gala was a fantastic evening. These photos capture just a few of those moments.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Burton Webb shared on the University value of Truth. President Alexander then awarded Centennial Medallions to four alumni who are highly accomplished in the areas of science and medicine: Rick Hieb, Christine Johns, Ken Watson and LaDeana Hillier.

“I am humbled to be ranked with individuals of such caliber and records of extraordinary service.” -Nampa Mayor Tom Dale

Next, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing Stacey Berggren presented on the NNU value of Community. Alumni Dennis Johnson, Steve Walden, Jeff Kinneeveauk and James Jackson were awarded Centennial Medallions as examples of NNU alumni who serve their communities, the world and their alma mater by excelling in their business and charitable pursuits.

The final five Medallion recipients were awarded in the context of the University value of Service as explained by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Randy Craker. These honorees are notable for their service to the Kingdom of Christ through their sacrificial work and charitable giving: Jerry and Muriel Caven, Ralph Palmen, Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag, Monty and Anne Ortman and Randy Newcomb.

While the stories of the 22 Centennial Medallion honorees were incredible and inspiring, the number and variety of the contributions of these individuals impressed upon the audience that the mission of Northwest Nazarene University is shared by all of its alumni and partners. Nampa Mayor Tom Dale expressed the feelings of many of the Medallion honorees with his comments at the conclusion of the event, “I am humbled to be ranked with individuals of such caliber and records of extraordinary service.”

The words of the concluding hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” aptly described the focus of the University both at its inception and looking into its next century to be an unabashedly Christian institution crediting God for its achievements and serving the cause of Christ in the world by educating and equipping students.


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