Super-Sized Homecoming Brings Thousands to Campus
A Homecoming like no other—Oct 19-21 was a weekend to remember. UC San Diego came alive as alumni, students, family, friends and community members took in all that the campus has to offer, and more. Between thrilling sports, lively discussion and laid-back tunes, more than 3,000 guests came out to experience a remarkable roster of 30+ events, reunions and campus attractions that captured the spirit of UC San Diego.
A winning weekend
With Division I athletics on the horizon, the talent and tenacity of several Triton men’s and women’s sports teams drew significant Homecoming crowds. Faculty and staff alumni were welcomed to attend open basketball practices on Friday, while true competition kicked off that evening as the men’s and women’s soccer teams took on Cal State LA for back-to-back wins against their conference rivals. The men’s team was the first in their victory, as Jonathan Sabouri scored the game’s only goal, with just over five and a half minutes left in regulation time. The women’s team took control in the second half with a 3 goal tour de force resulting in a 3-0 win. Stands were packed in Triton Soccer Stadium with plenty of blue and gold spirit—seen and felt from the field. “Our guys did a great job sticking to the game plan and managing the game,” said men’s coach Jon Pascale, “and we were fueled by a great crowd. It was great to see so many alumni and people in the stands.”
New this year, Homecoming coincided with UC San Diego’s 11th annual Family Weekend, where students invited their parents and families to get the full Triton experience on campus. Family-centric activities included the inaugural Triton Pin Ceremony, where UC San Diego pride was on full display, a Haunted Hoedown, Toolkit Sessions and college tours. Students and their families filled campus throughout the weekend, and took part in special events such as the Triton Family Brunch and Family of the Year Award Scholarship presentation, which honored Muir sophomore Keyona Meeks alongside her mother and sister.
Killer tomatoes, chiller tunes
Homecoming Saturday began with a special engagement honoring UC San Diego’s Class of 1969 and the five decades they’ve experienced since earning their degrees. Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla joined alumni for a celebration breakfast, where the class was recognized for their continued loyalty and service, and for playing an integral role in the legacy of UC San Diego. Class ambassador Chris Canole ’69 brought that same sentiment into the future: “Listening to the spectacular life stories of fellow alumni that morning rekindled my imagination of an even grander next 50 years producing the best and brightest to lead future generations.”
That afternoon, alumnus John DeBello ’75 and UC Davis graduate Costa Dillon were on hand for a panel discussion and 40th anniversary screening of their cult classic comedy, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, much of which was filmed on the UC San Diego campus. The pair shared candid, behind-the-scenes production stories and reminisced about the scrappy, shoestring methods they used to make the film—from “borrowed” lab coats to an unplanned helicopter crash that managed to become one of the film’s most exciting scenes—get a glimpse here.
Coming from a movie like that, you could rightly say UC San Diego does things differently—that’s exactly why the weekend’s signature event, Triton Tailgate, was less about cars in parking lots, and all about a ton of fun on the field. Nearly 1,500 alumni, students, parents and friends took over RIMAC Field for an afternoon filled with music, barbecue and a variety of Triton activities. UC San Diego graduate student Jacob Alvarado delivered a Kumeyaay blessing, and the Triton spirit was amplified by former president of the UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors, Jerri Malana ’86, who kicked off the festivities with a hearty welcome followed by a performance by Triton cheerleaders.
Fresh from their win at the Sun God Festival’s battle of the bands, alumni group Stay for the Fireworks entertained the crowd, followed by headliner, surfer-turned-singer-songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter, whose mellow tunes perfectly fit the sunny SoCal vibe. The grassy field was put to good use with lawn games and a rock climbing wall, as attendees stretched out on fresh Family Weekend beach mats to picnic, visit and enjoy the music.
Following the show, crowds packed the newly renovated RIMAC Arena to watch the women's volleyball team earn a hard-fought victory against conference foe Sonoma State University, ultimately bringing the Tritons into fifth place in the CCAA South Division. The game also marked the first time alumni were invited to sit on the new retractable bleachers, and get a close up view of the action on a 50-foot video screen and scoreboard!
Brainy brunch with faculty and friends
But as any Triton will tell you, UC San Diego isn’t all just sports and socializing. Academics were on the menu at Sunday’s Brunch-with-a-Prof, where alumni got the chance to reconnect with their most memorable professors, while indulging their intellects and appetites at Galbraith Hall on campus. Beloved professors Luz Chung (Education Studies), Cheryl Forbes (Education Studies), Mark Hineline (History), Vlado Lubarda (Distinguished Professor, Nanoengineering), Carol Padden (Dean, Division of Social Sciences), Amy Pasquinelli (Molecular Biology) and Charles Perrin (Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) dined with former students, while political science chair, Thad Kousser, gave a rousing mini-lecture on how Twitter is changing the landscape of political discourse. Alumni shared stories of their lives, their work and, of course, their UC San Diego memories. Who was your favorite professor? Join the conversation here.
And so it went—Homecoming weekend. Just a start of the new campus-wide tradition to come, with plans for a bigger and better Homecoming 2019. Judging by the enthusiastic feedback from alumni, students, parents and friends, Tritons of every stripe will be coming home sweet home to UC San Diego for a while.
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