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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Seniors bear down at annual Grad Bash

Jesus Barrera

Physiology senior Joel Rose-Kamprath (left) takes a selfie with Richard Gonzales (right), a senior studying electrical and computer engineering, after winning a football signed by coach Rich Rodriguez. The autographed football was awarded at the Bear Down Friday: Grad Bash on University Boulevard.

Along with senior pictures and cramming for final exams, Grad Bash is a sign that the school year is coming to an end. 

Bear Down Friday: Grad Bash is an annual event hosted by the University of Arizona Alumni Association to celebrate seniors and their experiences at the UA.

The party kicked off with a pregame, like many college parties, on University Boulevard with happy hour at Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company from 4-5 p.m. Seniors had to verify their grade at the alumni association’s tent. Seniors also enjoyed discounted foods and drinks. Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat greeted the seniors with pictures and Wildcat memorabilia in the form of bumper stickers, shirts, hats and glasses.

As the evening went on, juniors, sophomores and freshmen joined seniors to take part in the “Clash of the Classes” competition, which included a mac and cheese-eating contest that was presented by The Fix. The dense aroma of melting cheese and bacon was punctuated by music from a blaring disc jockey on the corner of University Boulevard and Tyndall Avenue.

By 5:30 p.m., the Pride of Arizona pep band arrived to offer its own version of the pop songs, joined by the UA’s cheerleaders.

A crowning moment of the evening was when Lute Olson, the former head coach of the UA men’s basketball team, arrived as a guest speaker. After leading Arizona to its first NCAA Championship in 1997, Olson reinforced the atmosphere of raucous Wildcat pride.

In giving his speech, Olson took the tone of a commencement speaker. He congratulated the graduating seniors for their accomplishments over the last four years, and recollected his time in working on campus as a coach. He also encouraged the seniors to seize as many career and academic opportunities as the future provided. He also made sure to repeat the glowing theme of the night on University Boulevard: Never forget your roots as an Arizona Wildcat.


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