From Friday to Sunday, from seniors in the Class of 2014 to Theresa Truitt Whitcomb, the first graduate of the San Diego College for Women in 1953, USD’s largest annual event to “welcome home” Toreros to campus — the Big Blue Bash — was aptly named.
Friday night’s Big Blue Bash Festival featured a ferris wheel, a welcome party for alumni in front of Warren Hall, and a concert on Torero Way, which drew the largest audience ever for a Torero Program Board Homecoming concert. Young The Giant was the headliner.
A full Saturday of activities included alumni brunches with new deans Noelle Norton (College of Arts and Sciences) and Chell Roberts (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering); a festive Homecoming tailgate/picnic event that included an appearance by San Diego’s interim mayor and 2000 USD alumnus Todd Gloria; and USD kicker David Last’s 28-yard field goal with no time left gave the Toreros a thrilling 35-33 Pioneer Football League win over Marist.
Some parents, students and alumni took advantage of the San Diego weather and trips offered by USD’s Outdoor Adventures (OA) to La Jolla and Mission Bay.
“We had a very good turnout and high demand for the outings we offered Saturday morning,” said OA Program Manager Mark Ceder. “We love having families join our outings. Many families who participate are from Northern California or out of state. We find that parents are so excited their children are at USD and to have this opportunity to experience the surrounding environment with them is a bonus. Whether it’s kayaking by sea lions on Mission Bay or admiring the sea caves up close in La Jolla, a quick paddling outing on the water — just a few minutes from campus — is certainly a highlight of their weekend.”
Saturday night was reserved for a special dinner program in Copley Library’s Mother Rosalie Hill Reading Room with USD President Mary E. Lyons and women and men who graduated between 1953-63.
“I’m always proud to welcome you to your home, your Torero home,” Lyons said. “I’m proud because I’m convinced that you can take pride not only in what’s happened here at Alcala Park, but also the value of the degree you received so many years ago.”
Lyons personally presented 76 inaugural alumni honorees with a gold medallion to celebrate their designation as Golden Toreros (alumni for 50 years or more).
“It means a lot,” said Charles King, a 1962 graduate of the San Diego College for Men. “I was on this property in 1948, attending parochial school and wearing my uniform, when Bishop Frances Buddy and Mother Rosalie Hill had the groundbreaking for the college. I think this is a brilliant idea as part of the tradition of USD. It’s a great way to get people back to campus, back to the university and to really support what’s going on here.”
A few special awards were given to various members of the USD campus community during the weekend. Two were given out at halftime of Saturday’s football game. Sociology Professor Erik Fritsvold (and 2000 USD alumnus) received the Parents Association Award of Excellence. The USD Greek Life chapter, Beta Theta Pi, won the Homecoming Spirit Week contest for most spirited student organization.
The weekend closed Sunday with a packed alumni and family mass at Founders Chapel, bringing the USD community together, including an alumni processional and the announcement of James Dilonardo (father of Nicholas Dilonardo) and Tim and Jill Moriarty (parents of Amanda Moriarty) as Torero Parent of the Year Award winners.
“This was one of the largest-ever gatherings of the USD family,” said Charles Bass, director of USD alumni relations. “It was a great celebration of the Torero spirit. Alumni of all ages came together with parents, students, faculty and staff. I thought the Golden Toreros event was especially touching. It was a great weekend all around.”
Next year’s USD Homecoming and Family Weekend is scheduled for Oct. 10-12, 2014.
— Ryan T. Blystone
Check out a selection of USD Homecoming and Family Weekend photos on Flickr.
Main photo on USD homepage by Alan Decker. Kayak photo courtesy of Outdoor Adventures.