50th anniversary homecoming serves as reunion and celebration

The first homecoming for the Pierce College 50th anniversary will be held Oct. 7-8 at the Fort Steilacoom campus, including the homecoming volleyball game, food trucks, campus tours and reunions.

Grace AmsdenSenior Reporter

An RSVP isn’t required for this celebration. For the Pierce College 50th Anniversary Homecoming, everyone is invited.   

It all starts with the Pierce vs. Tacoma Community College homecoming volleyball game at 7 p.m., Oct. 7 at the Pierce College Fort Steilacoom Health Education Center.

The festivities begin Oct. 8, as the Fort Steilacoom campus will open its doors for this event, complete with a 6-foot cake, temporary Raider bird tattoos and reunions for the college’s programs.

It’s going to feel like a party, Nicole Ferris, manager for donor and alumni relations, said.

“I’m envisioning a lot of laughter and just a lot of fun, and really getting some more messages out about Pierce College,” Ferris said. “In the 50 years, the college has accomplished so much. It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been around for 50 years with as much as we can say the college has done.”

The college community and anyone interested in Pierce is welcome. Whether it’s a current or past student to a community member, this event aims to bring people together, Ferris said.

“We really want to start to have events like this, where we regularly celebrate that large group of people, and using this as a way to educate people how you are a part of the Pierce College community,” Ferris said.

On Oct. 8, the homecoming kickoff will take place at 1 p.m. in the HEC, with welcoming announcements from Michele Johnson, chancellor of the Pierce College District, Denise Yochum, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, and Marty Cavalluzzi, president of Pierce College Puyallup.

“We want to get everybody in the room and get all of that excitement in that one room for that kickoff,” Ferris said.  

Food trucks, free Science Dome shows, face paintings, popcorn and a firetruck for children to explore will be among the activities until 5 p.m. Cupcakes from Albertsons will be available on the college’s 50th anniversary cake.  

“Our first main campus was an empty Albertsons grocery store, and so there’s been jokes about how Pierce was called ‘Albertsons U’ when they first started,” Director of Marketing and Communication Brian Benedetti said.

The homecoming will also serve as a way to learn more about Pierce. For example, campus tours will be offered by student ambassadors. A “campus card” can be obtained, which entails gathering stickers from various spots on campus, such as the booths. Once the card is filled with stickers, individuals can enter to win a prize, Benedetti said.  

Early childhood education is one program participating in the homecoming with a booth, and also reunion within The Children’s Center in the Olympic Building (room 166). In addition to current students, Director of Education Programs Krissy Kim anticipates to see prospective students, graduates and retired faculty and staff.

“I think I’m most looking forward to seeing all the people,” Kim said. “We anticipate having lots of our retired professors here and our graduates.”

In addition to the college’s 50th anniversary, The Children’s Center is celebrating a 40th anniversary.

“We’re feeling really excited,” Kim said. “It’s the only lab school still in existence in the community and technical college system in Washington state.”

“We’ll be expecting to see some alumni of the vet tech program come and take a look at our current facility,” Salvador Hurtado, veterinary technology program director, said. “The current facility has been here for about 30 years.”

During this time, the veterinary technology facility hasn’t changed much except for modern equipment and teaching models that have been obtained, including the x-ray, and digital x-ray machine as well as ultrasound machine, Salvador said. There’s also the horse head and neck model with a jugular vein, which allows students to practice drawing blood.

The reunions, which also serve as an open house, will operate on a drop-in basis.

“It’s our first time to have a homecoming, so we’re bringing alumni back so they can help celebrate with us,” Benedetti said.

A photo booth and opportunity to write memories or record a video message will be accessible at the homecoming. Hearing stories from Pierce alumni is one of Ferris’ favorite parts.


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Grace Amsden
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50th anniversary homecoming serves as reunion and celebration

by Grace Amsden time to read: 3 min