A possible dynasty started last night as Dan Yeksigian left a packed Mandel Hall crowned Mr. University 2005, the second consecutive year the 909 apartment won the title. The event is always sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
This year's pageant, entitled "A Few Good Men," is now in its fifth year of attracting studs from all corners of the University to strut their stuff for charity. Persis Elavia, a Theta sister and the pageant's coordinator this year, said that 2005 looks to top the amount Mr. University raised last year, over $4000, through donations, raffle sales, and penny drops for the candidates. The money will go to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, (CASA) a nonprofit group that works to assign advocates to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in the juvenile courts.
"Charity is really a significant part of Mr. University," Elavia said. "It's really significant meeting those kids who are in need of support in courts." Elavia noted that several Chicago Theta alumni work as court advocates in CASA, and the Director of Cook County CASA came to the event to support the sorority. Elavia, who worked on Mr. University for two years, also sees the pageant as a good way for all the groups on campus to meet up and have fun.
Yeksigian used his wit and style to work the rowdy crowd and charm the judges. During the Talent Competition, Yeksigian and his 909 cohorts, most of them University baseball players, suavely imitated the moves of the band N Sync. in their rendition of "Bye, Bye, Bye." And as an inside joke, last year's winner, Dan Harrington, also of the 909 apartment, made a guest appearance wearing his 2004 Mr. University crown and comically chasing one of Yeksigian's dancers.
Yeksigian had tough competition from the other candidates, including Joey Frontczak, Mr. Men's Soccer, who won the title of "Man of Style." Frontczak coyly pulled a banana from his swim trunks in the Swimwear Competition and proceeded to flex his biceps and his legs to the judges and the screaming crowd.
The runner-up, Mr. Student Government, was SG president Robert Hubbard, who channeled Marvin Gaye's moves for his performance of "Sexual Healing," during which he sang to the cheering girls and got his groove on with judge Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of political science. Hubbard also provided the most in-depth answer during the Finalist round; when asked what reality show he would like to star in, Hubbard responded, "I'd have to have my own reality show because anyone who knows me knows my life is full of drama." He dubbed his life "Bobby's World."
Aside from some snide comments, most of this year's audience refrained from the derogatory insults and profanity that were a problem two years ago. Still, one could discern the rivalry between certain fraternities, who cheered for their candidates and booed their rivals. Some frats even aided their candidates. Mr. Psi Upsilon, Phil Caruso, dressed as Tom Cruise from Top Gun, got a chorus of Psi U brothers to sing back-up on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," where he serenaded judge and College adviser Barbara Miner.
"Phil's a great guy," said Tim Richards, a Psi U brother. "He's doing this because he cares a lot about Theta and loves to support their causes."
Whether or not they came home with a bouquet and a tiara, many of Mr. University's contenders were happy to participate for CASA and Theta's charitable causes, and to flaunt their hidden talents to the University.
"Why am I in Mr. University?" said Simren Desai, Mr. Delta Kappa Epsilon. "I'm doing this because, first, it's fun, and second, it's for a good cause." When asked if he also enjoyed showing off his buff body, Desai did a double-take and said, "What buff body?"