Homecoming reunions an opportunity to reconnect
For 20 years, from 1978 to 1998, Professor Emeritus Richard Tenaza took University of the Pacific students on the trip of a lifetime—exploring wildlife in east Africa for a month.
“It was a big deal in their lives. Not just being out there with the wildlife but also being in a totally different cultural setting,” Tenaza said. “Students who were used to being the majority here were suddenly the minority in Africa. It was a profound experience.”
Tenaza and his student travelers will have a chance to reconnect during Homecoming and Family Weekend Oct. 13-15 at one of more than a dozen reunions taking place.
Reunions are also planned for the Classes of 1993, 1998, 2013 and 2023, several fraternities and sororities, athletics teams, Cluster Colleges, the Community Involvement Program and public relations students. See the full list.
At the Africa Travelers reunion Friday, Oct. 13, alumni can reminisce about their adventures, such as the time one group got heart-poundingly close to a lion.
“We were about 100 yards from camp when we heard a sound. I thought, ‘that was either a lion or a vehicle.’ Suddenly, out of these bushes a big male lion with a full mane comes bounding towards us,” Tenaza recounted. The lion eventually moved on and students got a memorable story to tell.
For former public relations students, the planned reunion is a chance to not only see old friends but honor their beloved teacher, Professor Emerita Carol Ann Hackley, better known as Dr. Mom.
“It means so much to me,” Hackley said. “It's a joy for me to see them. It’s also an opportunity to have them together so they can see each other. The PR students were a very close group all throughout the 26 years I was at Pacific.”
During the reunion, Hackley’s former students will dedicate the balcony of the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House, which they had named for her. They also recently raised money for an endowed scholarship in her name to support experiential learning, one of her passions as an educator. The first scholarship was awarded in the spring.
“She was so inspirational and had such close, personal relationships with her students,” said Georgette Hunefeld ’90, a former student who led the fundraising efforts. “We wanted to make sure there was a lasting legacy for her at Pacific physically, which is what the balcony represents, but also a legacy of an endowment that will carry her name.”
The deadline to register for Homecoming and Family Weekend is Oct. 1. Signature events include the Tiger Tasting Craft Beer Fest, Orange and Black Ball, homecoming tailgate, Taste of Pacific, a packed schedule of athletics events and the Faculty Mentor Awards.
Family friendly events are part of the lineup, including a movie under the stars on the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center lawn Friday, Oct. 13. The university will be showing “A Million Miles Away,” the newly released biopic on alumnus Jose Hernandez ’84. He was the first migrant farmworker to travel to space. Children can also take part in a Cub Run Saturday, Oct. 14 during the Tiger Dash. See the full schedule.