Crusaders got to “kick off their Sunday shoes” with new President and first lady, Randy and Julie O’Rear at the ’80s Bash held in their honor. Students dressed in costume were welcomed at the door of the Mabee-Farris Gymnasium by senior Jeremy Williams.
Sporting a shiny red raincoat material suit from head to toe and wearing a curly-haired mullet, he stamped everyone as they entered – the stamp bearing the image of O’Rear in coat and tie.
Sophomore computer graphics design major Lauren McKenzie said, “When I first got to the dance, Jeremy was stamping people. I didn’t think anything of it until I looked down on my forearm, and it was a man’s face.”
McKenzie said at first she thought the stamp resembled Elvis.
“But I thought, ‘Wait a minute, the ’80s weren’t his decade’,” she said. “So I did a double take, and burst into laughter when I realized it was Dr. O’Rear.”
Students welcomed the night’s special guests to the dance floor with “Endless Love” for their first dance.
The first lady wore a bright pink dress and elbow-length gloves. President O’Rear wore a sequined purple
coat and several inches of black hair,which he must have grown within a few hours of his inauguration.
Underneath flashing lights, students danced to tunes such as “Foot Loose,” “Strangers” and “One Way or Another.”
As an emcee for the event, Vice President of Student Life Byron Weathersbee sported a golden MC Hammer outfit that fellow faculty found for him to wear.
“Two problems,” he said. “One is that only MC Hammer wore crazy clothes like that in the ’80s, and the
other is I really looked more like Aladdin.”
Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff Sutton served as the “master emcee.”
Weathersebee said, “(He) is great up front and connects with people in amazing ways.”
Student Body President Tommy Wilson took center stage sporting zebra pants and killer-cool sunglasses
to officially dub the O’Rears as president and first lady on behalf of the students, saying with a Bawcomlike accent, “I dub thee forever.”
Crusaders snapped pictures with friends posing with various posters of so-twenty-years-ago stars next to an inflatable pool full of Cheeto balls.
At a nearby table, director of student organizations Kristy Brischke dished out assorted candies in rainbow colors. Students also got to take “prom pictures” in front of a sparkling backdrop – all photos are available on Facebook.
Residence directors joined the show, too.
As students formed a fashion show like line of free space on the dance floor, RDs were announced, moving to the catwalk wearing their retro getup. Students cheered them on as they sashayed to the ’80s beat.
Resident director and coordinator of training and publications Rebeka Retta sported studded jeans and a toy electric guitar, which she air-strummed while walking the aisle.
Retta said, “Well, the black jeans were mine. I did bedazzle them with the studs prior to that night.” She bought most of the outfit from area thrift stores.
“As far as the guitar, I only wish it was mine,” Retta said. “I borrowed it from a former RA, David Kline. It certainly completed the outfit.”
When students left, “Friends are Friends Forever” played, as BSM Director Shawn Shannon and campus missionary Jena Coulson passed out glass bottles of Dublin Dr Pepper. Each bottle was labeled with a photo of the O’Rears and the date commemorating the bash.
Senior nursing major Damian Orisakwe said, “I thought it was pretty awesome, I mean he is the president. Someday I hope I can get my face on a (soda) bottle.” Weathersbee said the celebration was a great way to conclude the inauguration of the university’s new president.
He said, “The bash brought back the good old days, especially when the O’Rears were dancing to my favorite song ‘Endless Love.’ Now that was specia l— a day this university will remember forever.”