The evening of Nov. 9 marked the finale of the yearlong celebration of Northwest Nazarene University’s centennial. A sold-out Michael W. Smith concert drew alumni and community alike and highlighted a 400-voice alumni choir and an eight-foot birthday cake. President Alexander led the audience in a covenant reading to dedicate the university’s next century to fulfilling its mission. The extravagant and purposeful celebrations of the past year served as encouragement to all to continue NNU’s legacy of transformative Christian education.
The celebrations kicked off with Homecoming & Family Weekend 2012 where a book set of NNU history was unveiled. “Spirit of Place” is a coffee table book edited by Faculty Emeritus Gaymon Bennett and designed by NNU Professor of Art Paul Kinsman. “Seeking First The Kingdom: A Centennial History” by Richard Etulain is a historical narrative chronicling a century of growth from Idaho Holiness School to Northwest Nazarene University. Copies are still available for purchase online at nnu.edu/bookset.
"The extravagant and purposeful celebrations of the past year served as encouragement to all to continue NNU's legacy of transformative Christian education."
At the general assembly of the Church of the Nazarene in June, NNU celebrated its connection with its church denomination. Twelve Centennial Medallion recipients were honored for their work as missionaries, pastors or other services to the church. These were 12 of 100 individuals selected from all walks of life and periods of the school’s history honored over the course of the year with a Centennial Medallion award. NNU Professor of Pastoral Theology Dr. Jay Akkerman connected with numerous students and alumni at the event held in Indianapolis. “With graduates and current students now scattered literally around the globe, it’s very gratifying to see NNU making an eternal impact for God’s kingdom.”
On September 13, 2013, NNU celebrated Founders’ Day. NNU’s two founders, Eugene Emerson and H. Orton Wiley, were remembered with Centennial Medallion awards in a special chapel service that marked the day classes first began in 1913. After chapel, costume-clad campus personnel and friends gathered for a reenactment photo of the 1915 groundbreaking of the school’s first building. That evening the campus and neighborhood community joined together for a party on the grounds that were originally gifted by founder Eugene Emerson.
The most lavish celebration of the year was the Centennial Gala. Held at the Boise Centre, the formal dinner of over 800 Treasure Valley community members and business people as well as NNU friends and alumni told the story of the university’s 100-year history of community involvement both locally and around the world. Twenty-two Centennial Medallions were awarded, one of which to three-term Nampa mayor and NNU alumnus Tom Dale, who 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.”
Sven Olson, alumnus and parent of a current NNU senior, attended Centennial Finale events at Homecoming & Family Weekend after not visiting campus for Homecoming since 1986. After attending the packed out homecoming basketball game, Medallion Recipient Banquet and the Centennial Finale featuring Michael W. Smith, Choir and Orchestra among other event, he summed up the proud feelings of many connected to the university.
“Homecoming Weekend and the Centennial Celebrations were absolutely world class! I really was impressed with not only the quality of the events but also the historical significance of this amazing milestone for NNU. The quality of the historical photos, stories and more really made a powerful connection between past and present. What an incredible time to be a part of the NNU family!”