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6 things about Pacific that made us go, “Wait… what?”

University of the Pacific has been around since 1851 and in that time a lot of fascinating things have happened to and on our campus. While many of the big changes and accomplishments are well known, many have slipped under the radar. That’s why we’ve rounded up six Pacific facts that made us go, “Wait… what?”

1. We have a presidential alumnus

It may come as a surprise to most, but the current president of Pakistan is a graduate of Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Wait, what?  Dr. Arif Alvi graduated in 1984 from Dugoni’s orthodontics program and had a strong dental career before becoming the 13th president of Pakistan in 2018.

2. There’s a “Psycho” Golden Globe on campus!

In 1961, Janet Leigh won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” for the role of Marion Crane. While some may not know her character by name, almost everyone knows the iconic shower scene in “Psycho” where her character meets an untimely end.

Her Golden Globe can be found on the Stockton Campus in the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center. Janet Leigh attended University of the Pacific (then College of the Pacific) in 1943 as a music and psychology student.

In addition to her Golden Globe, Pacific also has several of her other awards and dresses. Students and community members can also see movies at the Janet Leigh Theatre on campus.

3. Underground secrets

During renovations of Burns Tower, staff found a 5-foot-tall steel safe deep within the basement of the tower. It was impossible to open upon discovery and Stockton firefighters were called in to use the “jaws of life” to open the safe. 

Some of the notable content found in the safe were journals from 1851, an 1862 diploma printed on animal skin and Pacific’s original university charter which had been missing for decades.

 Tucked alongside all of those items was the strangest discovery of all: a 4,000-year-old Babylonian tablet that had been sent to then-Pacific President Tully C. Knoles in 1920.

4. Two Super Bowl winning coaches graduated from Pacific

Pete Carroll and Tom Flores are big names in the world of football as well as big names in the history of Pacific. Carroll graduated in ’73 and went on to be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. The team won the Super Bowl in 2014. His history also includes being the head coach of the New York Jets, New England Patriots and the USC Trojans.  

Flores graduated in ’58 and has won the Super Bowl twice as head coach for the Raiders. He’s one of two people in the National Football League to have won the Super Bowl in three different roles: player, assistant coach and head coach. Flores will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8.

5. Education regardless of gender

Pacific is a campus of firsts in California: first chartered university, first music conservatory and also the first university to open its doors to women. That’s right, in a state full of educational institutions, University of the Pacific was the first to let men and women study together.

6. An American record was set on Pacific’s campus

The United States first sub-four-minute mile happened on Pacific’s campus in 1957. Don Bowden, a Cal Berkeley trackman, ran this record-breaking mile on a track at what was then called Baxter Stadium. With a time of 3:57.7, Bowden not only became the first American to do this, but also became the youngest person to do it at the time.  

Even though Baxter Stadium is no more, you can find the commemorative plaque on the side of Raymond Great Hall about 10 yards south of where the record was broken.

Do you have any surprising Pacific facts? Let us know in the comments!


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