Making Memories

Making Memories

Oct. 14, 2013

Alumni share memories at Pacific University Homecoming 2013.

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Boxer — and Badger — pride was high the past several days as Pacific University marked Homecoming 2013.

The biggest Homecoming that Pacific has hosted to date, the four-day celebration drew more than 500 people to more than 30 different events. Alumni and friends from throughout the decades — and throughout the world — returned to Pacific to celebrate. Some came from as close as Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Portland. Others, like Jessie Wachter ’03, came from halfway around the world.

They enjoyed meals and receptions, tours and tailgating. Today’s Boxers provided plenty to cheer about, as they won every home match of the weekend, including the football team’s 56-14 defeat of the University of Puget Sound, which brought the team to a school-best 5-0 record on the season.

Mostly, though, the alumni who returned for Homecoming came to share stories and re-live a bit of the past.

Rhody Rodolico ’65, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 1962-1964 men’s tennis teams, wove me a tale about his class’s parting give to Pacific: squirrels to populate the campus. (Despite the news he’d heard a few years back, I assured him there are plenty of squirrels on campus today.)

Another alumnus recalled huddling in the optometry building during the infamous Columbus Day Storm, which battered Oregon 51 years ago this weekend. The gale brought down oak trees all over campus, he said.

Alumni of the Gamma Sigma Fraternity especially enjoyed the weekend, as they celebrated the 150th anniversary of the fraternity — the oldest west of the Mississippi. Donning an incredible amount of purple on Friday evening, the Gammas and their guests gathered for a dinner in the University Center. Mark Ziegler ’71 immediately led me to a 1929 yearbook, where he pointed out his uncle, a fellow Gamma.

“My mother’s in there somewhere too,” he said, adding with a laugh, “but she wasn’t a Gamma.”

Couples thumbed through old photos and artifacts, including an undated pledge manual certainly out of date today. Wid Bleything ’51, OD ’52, MS ‘54, brought a Gamma beer stein from 1951, a photo of all the fraternity members from the 1951-1952 school year, and a commemorative coin from the frat’s 100th anniversary celebration in 1963.

And, of course, current students spent the weekend making some memories of their own. Friday afternoon, I caught of glimpse of the green-sweatered young men of Phi Kappa Rho marching their pledges through campus on their way to paint the Spirit Bench (though by this morning, the bench’s colors had been recast in red and black for the Alpha Zetas).

Memories of such moments never die. Just ask the Class of 1963, back at Pacific this year for their 50th class reunion and induction into the Golden Guard. On Thursday, they marched through campus to the sound of bagpipes, laughing and talking on their way to etch their names in the sidewalk outside Old College Hall.

Some hadn’t seen each other since graduation, 50 years ago.

“You never know what people will look like,” said Dr. Glenn Freudenberger ’62, OD ’63. “We look at ourselves in the mirror every day and don’t notice the changes. But to see the change in everyone is astounding.”