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Campus Comes Alive for Homecoming

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Junior Brett Jones (center), leads the Men’s Triton Soccer victory celebration. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

A nontraditional tradition, Homecoming 2019 delivered on its promise, with a wide variety of events across campus that brought a record crowd of more than 4,000 to UC San Diego. Campus buzzed with Triton pride as alumni, students, family, friends and community members gathered to enjoy 20+ events Oct 18-20. With activities ranging from concerts and reunions, to athletic games and intellectual experiences, everyone had a chance to cheer, explore, reconnect and celebrate.

“Our campus community came out in droves this year to support the second annual all-campus Homecoming,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “As UC San Diego becomes a preferred destination for students, patients and the greater community, Triton pride everywhere grows stronger and stronger.”

And the timing couldn’t be better—because celebration was in the air. Thanks to the generous support of 135,000 campus friends, the university recently surpassed its ambitious goal of raising $2 billion for the Campaign for UC San Diego—the youngest university in the U.S. to have reached a multi-billion-dollar milestone. Alumni have been such a huge part of the Campaign, and the number of involved alumni has grown exponentially each year. Some 39,000 alumni have supported the effort with more than $190 million in gifts, 75 percent of which will benefit student support and success. We were happy to invite them back to campus to celebrate in style, as several classes and affinities were honored with reunion-year events held throughout the weekend.

Triton clean sweep

As our Triton athletic sports teams move ever closer to realizing NCAA Division l status, they put on a Homecoming show of force. Fans at the Homecoming Kickoff BBQ were treated to a clean sweep on the soccer field, as the Tritons roundly defeated competitors Chico State with 1-0 wins in both the men’s and women’s games. Later in the week, Triton Women’s Volleyball continued the streak with a thrilling 3-0 victory over Stanislaus State. UC San Diego’s most accomplished athletes were honored at the annual Hall of Fame Brunch.

Triton Spirit Run: blue and gold wins the day

UC San Diego spirit run

Spirited Tritons dash to the finish during the Triton Spirit Run, a campus jaunt that’s part race, part scavenger hunt, and all fun.

The race was on, as participants met at Stonehenge Lawn for the most spirited Triton run ever! Laughter, selfies and blue and gold attire were in heavy rotation at the Triton Spirit Run, as participants sprinted from one beloved campus landmark to the next, picking up spirited swag at each stop as they built their Triton-inspired wardrobes. Runners of all ages decked themselves out in Triton crowns, T-shirts and tridents while taking in a gorgeous morning as they raced to the finish line. Prizes were awarded for: Fastest Time (Individual) Connir Chaney; Fastest Team W/Ntastic; Most Spirited (Individual) Aubrey Harper; Most Spirited (Team) headed by Kristen Fernandez ’02, and Best Social, Ping Yeh ’99, MS’01 and Hanna Choe ’08. (Note: The Triton 5K will return to campus in fall 2020).

Brainy bites: Lunch with a prof

Homecoming had something for everyone, including educational activities like campus tours, Triton Lunch and Learn and Lunch with a Prof, where students and alumni could enjoy a bite and learn something new alongside a few favorite professors. Faculty members Lars Bode, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence); Karen Dobkins, Ph.D. ’92 professor of psychology, day care designer, mindfulness adviser; David J. Quarfoot, Ph.D. '15, assistant teaching professor of mathematics), and Martin F. Yanofsky, Ph.D., Revelle ’78, professor of cell development biology; mixed it up at The Loft. TEDx-style presentations and fun facts were shared, along with current research projects and UC San Diego-driven discoveries.

Rocking the Tailgate

Tritons of all ages gathered for an afternoon of music, food and fun at the Triton Tailgate and Concert. Fans and families alike brought their beach blankets and stretched out on RIMAC Field for a musical afternoon, beginning with an energetic opening act from Lawrence, a Brooklyn-based, eight-piece soul-pop band featuring siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence. Then headliner Sugar Ray took over, frontman Mark McGrath inviting the crowd to join him at the stage and sing along, as he led fans through a sugary time capsule of hits. The multiplatinum California pop/rock hit-makers did not disappoint, as the audience played along, humming, dancing and bopping to the beat of their favorite tunes. After the show, McGrath graciously spent time visiting with fans—just one of the perks of a concert just for Tritons.

UC San Diego triton tailgate

Taking the stage at the Triton Tailgate and Concert are soul-pop band Lawrence (left), and Sugar Ray (right).

New to the Tailgate, was the Alumni Reunion Village—a hub celebrating class and affinity reunions, the six colleges and campus community centers. The fun, free-flowing experience was an ideal opportunity for alumni to come together and connect with current students, staff, faculty and friends. Games, a cartoonist, karaoke and photo booth rounded out the fun.

Tritons reconnect: nostalgia to spare

Throughout UC San Diego’s decades of change and development, our campus stands proudly on the shoulders of its amazing alumni, as we forge ahead to realize a better tomorrow. In keeping with that promise, Homecoming 2019 offered a full roster of anniversary celebrations. Alumni of all ages, from near and far, were invited to return to campus to reconnect and reminisce alongside friends and fellow classmates.

UC San Diego homecoming 2019

Alumni strike a pose at the GOLD Welcome Party’s glittery selfie station.

More than 100 alumni came out for the first-ever GOLD Welcome Party, held at the alumni-founded Rough Draft Brewery campus outpost. GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) represent 40 percent of UC San Diego’s total alumni—and rising! Guests had fun meeting new contacts, hanging out with old friends and kept up the Triton energy well into the night. The Golden Triton Induction celebrated classes that have hit their 50th anniversary milestone year. Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla joined the celebration, which recognized the esteemed group of Tritons over brunch at Geisel Library. As they were officially inducted into the Golden Triton Society, graduates were presented with gold and blue medallions, encouraged to stay engaged with UC San Diego, and to remain keepers of its origins and history. The Triton Farewell Brunch was an opportunity for alumni and friends to gather for one last time as Elizabeth Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, presented the Family of the Year Award to student Farah Farouq and her family.

Homecoming 2019 was an all-hands Triton effort, involving staff, faculty and volunteer support. Everyone pitched in to make it happen. The experience perfectly encapsulated the spirit of UC San Diego—tons of Triton Pride wrapped up into a weekend of celebration. We can't wait to do it all over again in 2020!

If you are interested in helping, leading a reunion, or have a suggestion for next year’s Homecoming, please contact alumni@ucsd.edu.