February 24, 2006

“Mr. University 2006” crowned at Mandel Hall

Sorority Kappa Alpha Theta crowned fourth-year in the College and Phi Delta Theta member Eric Vilimas 2006’s Mr. University on Thursday night. The charity event, which the sisters estimate raised $6,000, supports Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization providing neglected and abused children with assistance in court.

U of C soccer team representative Ryan Ehle, also a fourth-year, received runner-up honors, and Student Government (SG) president and fourth-year in the College Robert Hubbard was named “Mr. Talent.”

In what is likely the year’s only event to include Fiji members dancing in unison, an SG president dressed in drag, and fraternity members stripping off their clothes to the encouragement of their brothers, the show received an overwhelming response from the packed crowd at Mandel Hall.

“Everyone thought it went really well,” said Kappa Alpha Theta member Kay Saul, a fourth-year in the College. “The crowd response was better than past years.”

Thirteen contestants from various campus organizations competed in the categories of swimwear, talent, and question-and-answer before a panel of three judges: Tyjuan Edwards, who works in the Regenstein Library; Jean Treese, associate dean of students; and Grant Madsen, resident head of Maclean House.

“I’m wondering if these guys really need a pageant to show their stuff,” Edwards said. “For a lot of them, its 24/7.”

Sponsored by several local businesses including Noodles, Etc. and Ribs ’n’ Bibs, the show featured a raffle and prizes for the winners, including an Apple iPod, a Coach bag, and a $1,000 bracelet.

The Kappa Alpha Theta sisters sported evening gowns and escorted the contestants in the formalwear competition. Talent acts ranged from Psi Upsilon’s Kabir Iyengar, a second-year in the College, rapping about being a “high roller when it comes to using flex,” to third-year Nick Shey’s piano performance.

Valimas’s winning act was staged as a dance-off between two rival dance groups, featuring his sister and her friend, as well as finalist Ryan Ehle. Vilimas said his crown is headed “back to the Phi Delt house for all the Phi Delts.”

The energized audience remained loud and riled up throughout the pageant as groups rooted on their favorite contestants.

“It’s so not U of C. It’s like a chance to be at a state school for one night,” said Vivek Ashok, a second-year in the College.

Upon his win, the Phi Delt brothers loudly displayed their pride in Valimas. First-year Phi Delt members Travis Blane and Dan Beksha called him their “favorite brother.”

But the night’s festivities were enough to cheer up the Mr. U runner-up contestants as well.

“I had fun with it,” said second-year and Delta Kappa Epsilon representative Ryan Rosenfeld, whose shirtless dance was an audience favorite. Rosenfeld added that there is “a strong chance” he will compete again.