Any Bronco who’s lived on campus since 1965 remembers the red light perched atop Swig Hall. The light is a safety precaution for airplanes landing at nearby Mineta San Jose Airport but it’s also a beacon for students who are returning to their dorms from a night out, a lighthouse guiding them to safe harbor.
Swig’s red light is one of the many objects that are emblematic of the Bronco experience on campus. For younger alums, the Bronco statue between Graham Residence Hall and Benson Memorial Center—unveiled in 2014—is the most obvious sentry, welcoming them home. For everyone, it’s the trellises heavy with purple wisteria blooms in spring, signaling the coming summer.
Since March 2020, these guideposts have been shrouded as campus was cleared out due to the pandemic. But this fall, as schools around the country prepared to reopen and welcome back students after many months of virtual learning and working, Bronco alums also geared up to return and visit the things that make Santa Clara, well, Santa Clara. The 2021 Grand Reunion, held October 7-10, was the first event held on campus since it was shuttered and welcomed back two sets of reunion classes to include those whose reunion was cancelled last year.
In addition to celebrating the SCU Alumni Association’s 140th anniversary, the weekend also included a commencement celebration for the Class of 2020. There graduates could gather in caps and gowns, promenade through campus, hear their names announced, and receive diploma covers—all the typical grad touchpoints they were unable to have last year. Traditional offerings like career networking, professional group gatherings, the all-class block party, and brunch rounded out the weekend.
Meanwhile, virtual parties were offered for those who couldn’t make it back to campus after all. The red light from Swig continues shining, beckoning them and all Broncos back whenever they’re ready.