Pacific Loyal celebrates sustained generosity and impact
In 1970, Diane (Ditz) Stauffer ’69 made her first gift to University of the Pacific: $15 supporting scholarships.
Stauffer appreciated the caring community she experienced at Pacific while pursuing her art degree and a teaching credential. Despite—or perhaps inspired by—her own academic struggles, she has devoted her life’s work to serving students. She spent five years recruiting for Pacific’s enrollment office, followed by a decades-long teaching career.
Stauffer has been a donor to Pacific for 52 years. She enjoys visiting the Stockton campus, talking to current students and knowing that she’s contributing to their experience.
“I loved being here, and the people were so good to me,” Stauffer said. “Pacific wants students to finish their education, whether they’re an athlete or a musician or an engineer or a pharmacist. Knowing that I’m helping in some way, it means a lot.”
Stauffer is a member of Pacific Loyal, a newly recognized group of Stockton alumni, faculty, staff and friends who donate to the university on a consistent annual basis. One becomes loyal after giving for two years, with special recognition at five, 10, 25 and 50-year giving milestones.
“Regardless of the amount, what matters is that people are giving and are recommitting year after year to help students overcome the financial barriers to reaching their goals.” - Scott Biedermann
Pacific Loyal currently recognizes nearly 2,000 individuals and families around the world—including more than 1,200 alumni—who are steadfastly committed to the university’s mission. New members will be added each year.
Loyal members receive special print and digital communications and exclusive invitations to engage with the campus community. Their generosity is also celebrated at Homecoming and Family Weekend and other events.
Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, vice president for development and alumni relations, emphasizes that Pacific Loyal is not focused on how much people give—rather, it celebrates the life-changing impact created by gifts of all sizes.
He cites Pacific Gives as an example of the power of small gifts. The university’s 24-hour day of giving in April raised more than $1.8 million dollars supporting students and programs. Of the gifts comprising that total, 83% were less than $100.
“Regardless of the amount, what matters is that people are giving and are recommitting year after year to help students overcome the financial barriers to reaching their goals,” Biedermann said.
Pacific Loyal members exemplify dedication. More than 600 members have given for 10 years or more, while 322 have exceeded 25 years and 14 have given for more than 50.
Maria (Cervantes) Aguirre ’93 and Juan Aguirre ‘99 both recall that, as first-generation students from low-income households, attending Pacific seemed like an impossible dream until they discovered the Community Involvement Program (CIP). The financial support they received through CIP and other resources motivates them to give back to students in similar situations.
“Pacific believed in me and gave me a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my dream,” Maria said. “For me, it’s essential to support future students.”
Added Juan, “No matter how much time has passed since I attended Pacific, there is that person just like me. They too have big dreams, as I did when I was their age.”
The Aguirres regularly volunteer with CIP and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. They are also 5-year Pacific Loyal donors who make gifts to both areas.
“I would like other first-generation alumni to understand the importance of giving back to Pacific,” Juan said. “I believe that our gifts will make a difference in someone’s life, just as others’ gifts made a difference for us.”
Like the Aguirres, Anthony Perino ‘88, a former Tiger golfer, gives every year to express gratitude for his own Pacific experience.
“I am inspired to give because my time at Pacific was so special,” Perino said. “I learned so many wonderful life lessons both on and off the course.”
Now president of a Bay Area real estate investment company, Perino remains connected with his alma mater and inspired by a new generation of students.
“I’ve stayed involved through my ongoing friendship with fellow alumni and the chance to meet some of the current golf team,” he explains. “They have been so impressive, not only with their talent, but as well-rounded individuals.”
President Christopher Callahan praises the dedication of Loyal donors such as Stauffer, the Aguirres and Perino.
“From the moment a student is admitted to the day they graduate, donor support touches every aspect of their Pacific experience,” Callahan said. “We are enormously grateful to our Pacific Loyal donors, who play such a critical part of the Pacific experience for our students.”
Learn more about Pacific Loyal.