Homecoming Stories

"The kid wanted to play, but Boxer just stared at him," says a handwritten note on the back of this photo from Al and Mary Davidson.

Oct. 1, 2012

Homecoming revelers share history, memories, potential

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In 1951, Boxer left campus for the summer.

Obviously, it wouldn’t be the last time that the statue that inspired Pacific’s mascot disappeared.

For the uninitiated, the ancient Chinese bronze has been stolen and recovered by various student groups countless times since the early 1900s. It last went missing in 1969, beginning its longest ever absence, though recently small pieces of the oft-broken statue have made their way home.

Back in 1951, the statue was mostly intact. That summer, the statue left Forest Grove and made its way to Roseberg, Ore., with Al Davidson ’52. A couple months ago, Al and his wife, Mary (Stone) Davidson ’53, sent in photos of their time with Boxer.

This weekend, as they returned to campus for Al’s 60th reunion, I was able to catch up with them and learn a little more of their story.

Boxer, it seems, was in the possession of the Phi Betas at the time.

“I told them I was taking it, and no one minded,” Al said.

“They knew it was safe with Al,” attested Mary.

“They knew no one was going to steal it in Roseberg,” Al countered.

The pictures show Boxer with both Al and Mary during the summer, posing on the hood of Al’s Model A and—capturing a favorite moment for the couple—being introduced to a few goats, who seem intrigued and perplexed.

“It was just so much fun to have it that summer,” Mary said.

Boxer was the source of much, though not all, reminiscence this past weekend, as hundreds of alumni flocked to Forest Grove and Hillsboro to celebrate the memory of their days at Pacific.

They shared tales of football games and hijinks, favorite professors and tough courses. The Class of 1952 (Al’s class) took a trip down memory lane with the recovery of a time capsule embedded in Jefferson Hall. The Class of 1962 etched their names in stone as they joined the Golden Guard. The Class of 2002 awed at the changes on campus, and in themselves, in 10 short years.

On Saturday, they packed Lincoln Park Stadium for tailgating and football. The Boxer put up a tough fight against the Whitworth Pirates, falling 28-23 in the final minutes of the game.

Prior to the game, I chatted with alumni who told me why Pacific was important to them. They talked about a place where they could be themselves, where they weren't lost in a crowd, where they built relationships with professors and lifelong friendships with peers, where their worldview expanded. 

Meanwhile, my husband and 2-year-old son (wearing his “I {Heart} Pacific” T-shirt, of course) ate lunch with some other members of the classes of ’52 and ’62.

They figured out that, if my son someday goes to Pacific, he likely would be the class of 2032—so they had 80 years of Pacific potential at one table.

Now, I'll probably let my son pick his own path when the time comes. But I do know this: Pacific would be a great place for him to someday call home.