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Pacific University will be crowded with alumni, faculty, staff and students during Homecoming weekend. The campus will be chalked-full with events that start Oct. 14 and last throughout the weekend. While no tradition will go unseen, there is one that certainly brings together a new group of people every year: The Golden Guard event.

This event will take place from noon-2:30 p.m. and is established to bring together alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. During lunch, the class of 1966 as well as other eligible alumni, will be inducted into the Golden Guard in honor of their 50th reunion.

“This is an event we do every year and it’s becoming quite a strong tradition,” Martha Calus-McLain, senior director of alumni and community engagement said. “Our primary goal is to celebrate this great reunion of classmates and see them gather so we have a number of opportunities throughout the weekend to get together as a group.”

After creating a proposal for this group in 1965, The Golden Guard, which used to be referred to as “Old Guard” before the name was nixed because of the word “old,” came into play in 1966 when the first class of alumni from 1916 was inducted. And then in 1993, another tradition started. It became custom for those being inducted to sign their name into wet concrete outside Old College Hall to solidify their place at Pacific.

“We are thrilled for the class of 1966,” Calus-McLain said. “They are a class with a lot of energy and they will literally put their stamp on campus during the weekend and we are excited to see them come back.”

This year, the class of 1966 will be the third largest 50th year reunion class on record. There are many alumni who will be on campus that are affiliated with Greek life, a large number of them being from the Alpha Zeta Fraternity because of the reunion that will be taking place over homecoming weekend. There will also be a number of alumni award winning athletic hall of fame inductees in the class.

“Back then about 50 percent of the students were [involved in Greek life] so it was really part of the social fabric of campus life and alumni of the 1960s will reflect that there were fewer student group options in the 60s than there are now,” Calus- McLain said. “There’s just a lot more choice embedded in the experience in 2016 than there was in 1966, so if you were a socially active person involved in campus life, chances are you got recruited into a Greek organization.”

Calus-McLain is excited for alumni to come back who have not returned since graduation. A lot has changed, especially since the class of 1966 graduated. Clark Hall was being built their senior year and many things were changing as they were leaving.

“It’s a stunning experience for someone because a lot has changed on campus, in Forest Grove, in Washington County and in Oregon over the last 50 years,” Calus-McLain said. “It’s exciting but I think it’s also a little bit jarring.”

Once alumni are inducted into The Golden Guard, they are able to attend the Friends of Pacific Lunch that takes place the second Tuesday of every month on one of Pacific’s campuses.

“It’s not like you celebrate your 50th and never come back,” Calus-McLain said. “There’s no greater joy in our work than getting to see two friends see each other again for the first time in years.”


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