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Pacific traditions and their origins

Many meaningful traditions have emerged throughout University of the Pacific’s 173-year history and continue to enhance the student experience today. Chartered in 1851 and California’s first university, Pacific remains deeply rooted in its rich history and commitment to providing a superior, student-first academic experience. 

Tiger Roar 

Tiger Roar is a longtime tradition that marks the start of the incoming cohort’s Pacific journey and kicks off the Week of Welcome festivities: Each year as the new students exit their Convocation ceremony, a crowd of current students and staff line the walkway to shower the new class with confetti and cheers. 

The Academic Mace 

Academic maces date back to 16th century England when Queen Elizabeth I presented a replica of her own royal mace to the corporation of the University of Oxford. 

Robert E. Burns, Pacific president from 1946-1971, asked internationally known London silver designer Stuart Delvin to create the University of Pacific Mace in recognition of the University’s transition from a college to a university.  

The mace was first used at a Founders Day ceremony on March 6, 1966, and is constructed entirely of silver with a gold-plated seal of the University at its head. Regent Winifred Olson Raney gifted the piece. Each year at Convocation and Commencement ceremonies, the mace is carried by the chair of Pacific’s Academic Council.  


Did you know University of the Pacific’s iconic mascot has a birthday? Pacific Athletics unveiled Powercat on January 22, 1999, following the introduction of the new Pacific Tigers logo in 1998. Before the Powercat mascot and logo, the face of Pacific athletics was a cartoon tiger affectionately known as Tommy the Tiger.  

Michael Osborne Design of San Francisco took on the task of developing a new logo for Pacific. Out of several designs, Powercat won out by a landslide, and administration enthusiastically launched the school’s new face: A dynamic, roaring tiger that effectively captures the excitement and intensity of Pacific’s athletics.  

The Spirit Rocks 

For decades, students have been painting the two small boulders (known as the “spirit rocks” outside the engineering school in honor of holidays, school events and social justice issues.  

Typically, the paint jobs take place at night, the morning daylight unveiling each new design. In the spirit of free expression, there are no university policies regulating the rocks (other than using conventional publication norms prohibiting statements that are libelous, profane or encourage violence). 

Class photo 

Each year during Week of Welcome, the entire first-year class gathers for a class photo! Sometimes in the shape of a tiger paw, sometimes a “P”, the photo captures the excitement of the beginning of the cohort’s new journey. 

Pacific Hail 

Pacific’s alma mater was written by College of the Pacific alumna Lois Warner Winston ’23, ’58. The song has been performed at major Pacific ceremonies for a century. 

Pacific Hail 
From o’er the rugged mountains standing high; 
From out the broad low valleys, ‘neath the sky; 
Our alma mater calls, We cannot fail, 
Our voices blend in praise, Pacific Hail! Pacific Hail! 
Long may her flaming torch give out its light; 
Long may her spirit guide us in the right; 
To her we pledge our hearts, We dare not fail; 
To her we raise our song, 
Pacific Hail! Pacific Hail! 

The seal 

The University of the Pacific seal is reserved for special use on president-approved documents including student diplomas. The round seal (not to be confused with the university logo) features the school name encircling the Torch of Knowledge and a laurel wreath. At the bottom is the founding year of the university.

Next time you are at Pacific’s Stockton campus, take a walk through the rose garden at Knowles Lawn – at the intersection of the garden, you’ll find a mosaic in the pavement with the university seal at its center.

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