Pacific University Traditions

Student in Old College Hall ready to ring the bell

Sign, Shake & Ring

New students are welcomed to Pacific when they sign their names in the Book of Enrollment in Old College Hall, shake hands with the President of the University and, one by one, ring the bell in the historic building.

On the evening prior to their graduation, students return to Old College Hall. Inside the Book of Enrollment, they find their original signature from their arrival on campus, and sign their name again to signify the completion of their academic career at Pacific.

Sign, Shake and Ring is a tradition unique to Pacific University, with origins dating back to the late 1880’s or early 1900’s when students signed a ledger to signify enrollment. Today, it is demonstration of the university’s commitment to its students and graduates. The symbolic action of ringing the bell makes students part of the Pacific University family, continuing a long and rich heritage.

The Book of Enrollment records the names of those who will honor and sustain the mission and core values of Pacific and is dedicated to these students and future alumni in a spirit of community, connection and trust.

Then and now Spirit Bench

Spirit Bench

The Spirit Bench has been a landmark and source of pride at Pacific for more than a century. Formerly known as the senior bench, it was donated by the class of 1908, although the original bench was damaged and replaced in 1990. Under the cover of darkness, students periodically repaint the bench, embellishing it with messages of encouragement to mark different events, from graduation to a national campaign honoring U.S. veterans. 

Golden Gaurd procession and sidewalk signing

Golden Guard Sidewalk Signing

Each year, alumni celebrate milestones by gathering with their classmates at Homecoming. One of the most-cherished Homecoming traditions at Pacific is the induction into the Golden Guard society of alumni celebrating their 50th reunion. At the sidewalk signing, Golden Guard inductees receive a medallion and sign their names into a wet-concrete section of the sidewalk outside Old College Hall, leaving an indelible mark on the university.