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Ringing in the New Year


When you think about ringing in the new year, your mind likely goes to celebrations surrounding January 1. This year proved that is not always the case.

Six years ago, on February 17, 2017, the City of Surprise and Ottawa University entered into an agreement to maintain and grow a partnership that is distinctive, enduring and impactful which will develop persons who are life-long learners and engaged community members.

Last year, the partners commemorated this unique partnership with a ceremony and proclamation marking the third Thursday of February the “City of Surprise and Ottawa University Partnership Day.” As a token of their commitment, the two partners exchanged large crystals which embedded their logos at the site of the ceremony. Smaller crystals that mirrored the image were available to attendees.

As planning began for the 2023 celebration, the Surprise Center Development Company and the OUAZ Student Government collaborated on identifying a special gift that would remain on the joint campus for years to come. The OUAZ Student Government spent numerous hours searching for something that would embody the richness of this partnership, while also being something that would continually honor the sound partnership that exists.

On Thursday, February 16, the annual event was opened by OUAZ Campus President Dennis Tyner, who shared the value of the partnership and the impact it has had on both entities. Mayor Skip Hall and Chancellor Bill Tsutsui then took the podiums to read the proclamation.

As the event continued, Rick West, managing member of the Surprise Center Development Company, joined OUAZ Student Government President Jordyn Van Metre to dedicate the gift—a 15,000 pound bronze bell erected as a visible symbol of the resounding commitment to education excellence and community engagement by both parties.

In celebration — on this Thursday morning that proved to be even colder than New Year’s Day in Surprise — Mayor Hall and Chancellor Tsutsui “rang in the New Year” at the center of the Civic Center Plaza.

This momentous event was just one of the many special events that alumni participated in during Alumni Week in Arizona, including a luncheon, an afternoon gathering, and a variety of athletic events—baseball, men’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball. Russell Baker MBA ’20 AZ was the lucky winner of the Alumni Week raffle, Apple AirPod Pros. 

The OU Board of Trustees also held their winter meeting during the week and hosted a special luncheon honoring the dedication and impact of alumni Dr. E. Earl “Sonny” MA ’93 AZ, DHL 0’03 and Betty A. Hays and Patricia B. Wolf BA ’85 MA,’89 AZ. Hays and Wolf both served on the Ottawa University Board of Trustees and were instrumental in the growth of the University's adult education offerings and its programs in Arizona.


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution, serving more than 4,500 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz., and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; and online. Visit for more information.

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