Engage: Hello, Fare well

The California sun bakes the air to 106 degrees. Yet, inside—in Bill (A&S ’74) and Sue Fulcher’s living room, decked in blue and gold—conversations gravitate to chilly Pennsylvania winters.

The Northern California Pitt Club is hosting a Panther Sendoff, and alumni remember well the days of braving the cold and, sometimes, snow on their way to classes. But on this day, the California partygoers chat over cool drinks and plates heaped with barbeque fare. The purpose is to welcome the region’s new Pitt freshmen and transfer students to the blue and gold fold.

The gathering is one of nearly 50 Panther Sendoffs organized nationwide each summer by alumni clubs across the country. The Sendoffs are held in homes, parks, restaurants, and even at baseball games, but they all have the same goal: connecting new students and their parents to the Pitt family.

Sendoffs are also an ideal setting for freshmen and their families to ask questions about the University and its schools. Which classes or professors do you recommend? Where can I go to find internships? Which residence hall is ideal? How do I continue to network with alumni both in Pittsburgh and California? And, of course, there’s the Western Pennsylvania climate. “Just be sure to pack a warm coat,” club president John Racioppi (A&S ’79, BUS ’80G) advises his fellow Californians with a knowing smile.

I invite you to do more than reminisce about your time at Pitt. There are plenty of ways for you to engage with your alma mater. If you are in the area, come back to campus for a lecture or cultural event. If you live elsewhere, show your Pitt pride by joining or starting a Pitt Club in your area. —Jeff Gleim

Alumni from the Northern California region are happy to share what they know about life at Pitt. By the party’s end, the latest members of the Panther family don’t just have a better idea of what awaits them in the fall. They also have a new set of friends.