Suzanne Buchholz, Senior Reporter
In honor of Pierce College’s 50th anniversary in 2017, the college will host a variety of events for students and staff to participate in. Among the festivities planned are a homecoming event Oct. 7-8, a Hall of Fame Dinner to celebrate athletic achievements on March 25 and a gala on April 22.
The events were organized by a committee comprising staff members, students and community members. The actual planning for the anniversary began much earlier than this, Director of Marketing and Communication Brian Benedetti said.
“We actually started preparing for this about four years ago, digitizing old pictures and video, looking at what other colleges have done,” Benedetti said. “But the full committee was formed and functioning about a year ago.”
In order to come up with ideas for Pierce’s anniversary, Benedetti and other members of the committee explored what other community colleges were doing to celebrate their 50 year milestones at around the same time. Two colleges that were prominent in this decision making
process were Tacoma Community College and Portland Community College. TCC turned 50 in 2015, while PCC celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2011.
Benedetti said PCC in particular was a big source for their ideas.
“Portland has won all kinds of awards for their 50th celebrations a few years ago,” Benedetti said. “PCC is a larger college system with a much larger budget so we knew we couldn’t do everything they did, but itgave us a good start for ideas.”
PCC earned 15 awards for their 50th anniversary programs from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations, according to a report on their website. Their slogan of “Opportunity–Then. Now. Always” was integrated into every event they held, which featured a kick-off day in Pioneer Courthouse Square, an originally produced play and an exhibit at the Oregon History Museum.
One of the main events held at PCC that Pierce will also be offering is the gala. The event will celebrate the past, present and future of Pierce as students and staff reflect on the college’s history and honor alumni. Other details of the gala are still in the works.
“This event is going to be a formal event and attendees will be purchasing tickets,” Manager for Donor and Alumni Relations Nicole Ferris said. “At this time a special committee has been formed and is meeting to plan this event. That committee is made up of staff, alumni and community members.”
PCC also provided students and faculty with extensive volunteer opportunities that helped the college reach 75,000 total hours of community service hours during their anniversary year. Pierce will also be holding community service projects for their community to participate in. Benedetti said they will be encouraging students and staff to try fulfilling 50 service hours each to honor the 50th anniversary. These community service projects will culminate in a 50th Anniversary Capstone event on June 10, another idea picked up from PCC.
“The college will also take this special anniversary as an opportunity to thank the community for 50 years of support,” Benedetti said. “The college has committed to 50 service events throughout the year, including food drives, community partnerships, park cleanups and more.”
In addition to these events, PCC also celebrated with a 6-foot tall fake cake that was used as a decoration throughout the year. This inspired TCC to create a similar cake for their own celebration, which in turn was donated to Pierce for their festivities.
“For the cake, I know that the cake stand has been loaned to us by TCC and we have Pierce-ified it,” Ferris said.
The cake will be present at campus events and will be used as a display stand for cupcakes.
Ferris said she thinks the anniversary festivities will serve as a good way for students and other community member to take pride in Pierce and its history.
“I think this is a great way to celebrate the community that makes up the Pierce College District,” Ferris said. “What has been accomplished in the past 50 years is amazing and I truly believe that Pierce College is an innovative institution, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. I believe that anyone who attends events or comes to campus throughout this anniversary year will have the opportunity to feel the excitement and take pride in what Pierce College has done and continues to do.”
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