Roaring weekend: Pacific celebrates in-person Homecoming filled with pride

A scene from Pacific Roars Back

Pacific alumni, students, family and friends gather on Knoles Lawn at Pacific Roars Back.

Thousands of orange-and-black clad revelers rejoiced, embraced and, indeed, roared back to campus for a Homecoming celebration that brought Pacificans together—in person—to celebrate their beloved university.

More than 4,000 people turned out on Friday and Saturday for “Pacific Roars Back,” a re-envisioned Homecoming celebration with more than 50 events that showcased the best of Pacific and the return to campus. 

Last year’s event, “Homecoming at Home,” was virtual due to the pandemic.

“It is just incredible to have everybody back after all this time, and to be able to see smiles after months and months. You can feel the passion that people have for Pacific,” said Board of Regents Chair and double alumnus Norman Allen ’88, ’94.

“We have so much to celebrate this year, and this was a magical weekend—for a homecoming like no other,” President Christopher Callahan said. “Alumni, donors, students, faculty and staff have yearned for a return to normal, and this homecoming was such a big step in making that a reality.”

California’s first university kicked off Homecoming on Friday with a sold-out Orange & Black Ball—the main fundraiser for the Pacific Athletic Foundation which supports student athletes in the university’s 17 intercollegiate sports —along with craft beer tasting and an ASuop sponsored concert featuring alumna entertainer Jasmine Jordan.

The activity continued non-stop into Saturday, with the 5-K Tiger Dash, Pancakes with the President, open houses hosted by each school and college, the Conservatory of Music’s popular Prism concert, Taste of Pacific, the Tigers Got Talent student showcase and more.

The dedication of the re-imagined William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center drew donors, regents, and alumni who marveled at the campus centerpiece. 

“The transformation of this library was intended to catalyze thinking and to create spaces that would allow for collaborative work among faculty, students, staff,” said Maria Pallavicini, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.  “This library is a vital part of the Pacific experience.”

Athletics were a key part of the homecoming celebration. Pacificans had the opportunity to meet the men’s and women’s basketball coaches and players or to watch the men’s water polo team defeat San Jose State 12-8.  And while the women’s volleyball team lost in five competitive sets Saturday to Loyola Marymount, that outcome came after four consecutive Tiger wins and an upset of No. 23 ranked Pepperdine.

Dozens of area wineries and restaurants—many of them owned and operated by Pacific alumni—showcased their specialties during the sold-out Taste of Pacific, which this year had a new setting amidst the autumnal trees along Baxter Walkway near the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House.

The celebration was capped by a special commencement Sunday for graduates who didn’t have the opportunity for an in-person ceremony due to the pandemic. An overflow crowd of more than 6,000 celebrated along with 650 graduates from the 2020 and 2021 classes.

View highlights from Pacific Roars Back.