Each July, our first-year students get a special treat from a group of our distinguished alumni. At the end of a very busy first week of classes, the students are invited to a cioppino dinner in the Café Cagnone on the 2nd floor to eat, socialize and relax.
In case you haven’t heard of it (or unlike me, haven’t spent much time with a big Italian family), cioppino is a fish stew derived from the various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.
A group of alumni have been organizing this event for many years. Their work starts early in the morning when they go to the fish market to choose their ingredients, and continues as they spend the day preparing the cioppino feast. This year, they gathered to cook at Gaspare Pizza, a restaurant owned by Gaspare and Robin Indelicato, who are the parents of one of our students. After a day of camaraderie, cooking and eating, the group then comes to the school to serve the cioppino to more than 160 incoming students in the DDS and IDS programs.
This wonderful event is an incredible example of the passion for Pacific and the friendships that are developed during the time our students spend here. This group of alums has been together as friends since they day they started school. I expect that the incoming class will begin to form similar ties.
In order to help build those relationships, first-year students also travel to the University of the Pacific’s main campus in Stockton during their second week for a class retreat. They spend two days together interacting in scheduled and unscheduled activities such as bowling and playing sponge dodge ball. Between the cioppino dinner and the first-year retreat, we hope that students get to know one another and forge bonds that will last throughout their dental school experience. It’s likely they’ll even make some friends for a lifetime.