Each year, local leaders including Mayor of Azusa Joseph Rocha, Azusa Unified School District Superintendent Cynthia Cervantes-McGuire, Azusa Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Glassman, and Azusa Pacific University President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, come together to share a year-end report with the community and updates on what's next for the city of Azusa. This year's State of the City and State of the Schools Address took place on February 11 at the National Guard Armory in Azusa.
Mayor Rocha began by talking about economic development and community improvement. He also spoke about steps the city of Azusa is making in sustainability, such as water reduction. He also discussed the extension of the Gold Line through Azusa, making another form of public transportation accessible.
"Azusa is going to prosper because we are all working together," said Rocha.
This year, APU Executive Vice President David Bixby, Ed.D., spoke on behalf of President Wallace, who was recovering from a recent knee surgery. Bixby spoke about the achievement of the building and completion of the Segerstrom Science Building, APU ranking 18th in the nation for the percentage Latinos graduating from master’s programs in Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine, and APU's service-learning programs named to the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Role. He also spoke about APU's partnership with Azusa Libraries which has resulted in 10 years of the Azusa Reads Program.
In addition, Bixby discussed the acquisition of five Dead Sea Scroll fragments now a part of APU’s Special Collections along with other biblical artifacts. An exhibition beginning May 21 will allow people to view these fragments as well as rare biblical artifacts marking the history of Scripture.
Bixby also interviewed two APU students who model APU's commitment to Christ and scholarship. The interviews included Sellika Velazquez, an Azusa/Nancy Moore Scholarship recipient who recently returned from the High Sierra Semester, and Garren Montez, one of 52 APU ROTC students.
"I knew APU was going to be my door to the world. Living in a group of 23 people at [the High Sierra semester] really taught me what community is," said Velazquez.
Bixby closed by interviewing Director of the Neighborhood Wellness Center Julie Pustzai, who has been working with residents since 1998 on blood pressure screenings, weight reduction, and diabetes awareness.
"Because of the attitude of wellness and health in Azusa, there will be an opportunity for more collaboration in the community in the future," said Pustzai.