Spirit and Traditions
Since its founding in 1851, University of the Pacific has developed a distinguished history that includes traditions that embody what the university stands for. Our traditions serve to connect students with important aspects of campus life and help them achieve the full Pacific experience.
The School Colors
In 1851, Pacific originally had a solitary school color of orange that represented the many fields of California poppies. Then during the pre-football rugby era at Pacific, the school selected rugby uniforms with orange and black stripes. The campus community liked the effect so much that Pacific chose black as its secondary color.
Pacific first adopted the tiger as its mascot in the fall of 1908. The nickname evolved because the school's rugby uniform jerseys and socks were black with orange stripes, resembling tigers. "Tigers" was used in student and local newspapers to describe all of Pacific's athletic teams and became official in 1925.
The Mascot - Powercat
Pacific's tiger mascot has been a symbol of the school's athletic teams since 1914, from the graphic drawing of a ferocious, roaring tiger, the friendly "Tommy Tiger" caricature and the current tiger emblem "Powercat," unveiled in 1999. The Powercat is a dynamic and athletic personality that adds to the excitement of Pacific athletic events.
Weekend of Welcome (WOW)
Weekend of Welcome (WOW) is designed to give new students an opportunity to transition to Pacific, creating a bond with the University and the surrounding community. During WOW new students will participate in a variety of activities to help prepare them for success at Pacific.
New Student Convocation
New Student Convocation is an annual ceremony in which University leaders and faculty, dressed in academic regalia, formally welcome incoming freshmen and transfer students to the University. It takes place during Weekend of Welcome (WOW), which occurs the weekend before the start of fall semester. The entire campus community is invited to the event, which is held in Faye Spanos Concert Hall.
After the New Student Convocation ceremony, current Pacific students, faculty, alumni and staff gather outside of Faye Spanos Concert Hall to greet the new students with a Tiger Roar. Members of the campus community form two lines and roar as loud as they can as the new students walk through them. Afterwards, everyone enjoys a campus barbeque where current students, faculty and staff get to know each other better.
In the 1960s, two engineering students brought a large boulder from Placerville and placed it in front of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Years later a second boulder, one shaped like a chair, was placed nearby. They are now known as the Graffiti Rocks. It is a Pacific custom for students to sneak out in the middle of the night and paint the two large rocks. On any given day the rocks may display Greek letters, birthday announcements, student art, or an advertisement for an on-campus event.
Festival of Lights
Pacific's annual holiday celebration Festival of Lights takes place each year in early December. The campus community comes together to celebrate the holiday traditions of many cultures and faiths by participating in a number of activities, including a holiday faire with music, food and crafts, an interfaith service, a tree decorating content, a Sing-a-Long and a late-night pancake "breakfast."
Lip Sync is an annual event that involves campus organizations that compete for viewers' choice and judges' pick in a lip sync-style competition. One of the most popular events of the year, the competition usually occurs during Parent and Family Weekend and draws huge crowds from the community. Lip Sync stems from a past tradition called Band Frolic in which various living groups - mostly the Greeks - would put together song-and-dance variety routines. The routines were often laced with cultural context and satire about campus events and contemporary news.
The Orange Army
Draped in orange Pacific T-shirts and face paint, The Orange Army consists of dozens of energetic students who sit in the student spirit section during University sporting events and cheer on Pacific teams. The students add excitement to the games and help keep the Pacific teams and fans energized.
Commencement, Pacific's annual graduation ceremony, is held after the end of the spring semester of each school year to honor those students who have completed the required coursework for their degree(s). During the ceremony, the University President and Provost address the students. Faculty members also participate while dressed in academic regalia. As part of the ceremony, outstanding students are recognized, distinguished public figures receive honorary degrees, and a keynote speaker addresses the graduates. Individual ceremonies for each school and college are also held.