PUC's Extended Family Comes Home

By Mike Mennard on December 18, 2007

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And like one’s best relatives, they only came to visit. By Sunday afternoon, scarcely a trace was left of them, save a few fifth-wheel trailers and Burma-shave signs along Howell Mountain Road into Angwin.

Though it happens every year, each Homecoming Weekend is a unique experience. Of course, most students wouldn’t know because they’re gone. Maybe that’s not all bad—good for them and good for alumni. However, it’s possible, maybe even likely, that both groups would benefit from each other’s presence. Alumni might learn that, contrary to rumors, PUC is NOT a party school. (Whoever started that rumor has never been to a party school.) And PUC’s students might learn that there is life beyond Pomp and Circumstance.

Perhaps the surprising guest to this year’s Alumni Homecoming Weekend, April 18-21, was something past Homecoming’s have gone without: warm sunshine. It’s doubtful the thousand-plus visitors could have asked for a more delightful Spring weekend.

Though the weekend officially began on Thursday, April 18, with an evening of vintage films and the Heubach Lectureship with George Knight, the festivities kicked into gear starting Friday. One of PUC’s grandest traditions, Pioneers’ Luncheon, took place at 10 a.m. This is when the old, old old-timers gather to eat, talk about how the buildings have changed, note how nobody looks like his or her yearbook photo anymore, and sing the school song—and they actually know it!

It’s a long-standing tradition on Friday night to light the “Missionary Map.” A large map of the world is displayed at the front of the Church sanctuary, and wherever PUC students and alumni have served, a light is lit. Each light seems small by itself, but the map radiates when all the lights glow at once. It takes a while to get to that climax, but if you can sit that long, the finale of lights is moving. Indeed, PUC is touching the entire world.

It’s a truism about Alumni Weekend that seats are hard to come by for church. That was no exception this year. Members of the honor classes of 1962, 1967, 1977, and 1947 presented the worship service, and Dr. Larry Geraty, president of La Sierra University (and a member of PUC’s Class of 1962) shared the Sabbath sermon.

Some campus guests described the concert in Paulin Hall at 4 p.m. as one of the finest the Music Department has put on in years. One alumni said, “I felt as if these were the glory days again.” (Just a thought, but maybe these are the glory days!)

The only true bust during Alumni Weekend was Saturday night’s alumni basketball tournament. It was the much-hyped contest that wasn’t. Usually, members of PUC’s alumni show up to trounce current PUC students in an annual basketball tourny. Unfortunately, neither group could muster a team, so we must conclude one of two things: either they were scared of getting “whooped,” or someone forgot to tell them!

All in all, PUC’s alumni had a great time, as all who were there can testify. PUC’s students, one must assume, also had a good time, it’s just not entirely clear where they were having it. But the day will come for PUC’s current students—and you heard it here first—that “coming home” to PUC will be like, well, coming home. And they’ll wonder where all the students have gone.