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June 13, 2014

Student Traditions - Mr. CWRU

“I never knew how much fun a male beauty pageant could be... ” - Michael Dennison was quoted by the 1999 Retrospect in its coverage of the Mr. CWRU pageant. Sigma Psi sorority has sponsored the annual event since 1979.

Contestants, sponsored by residence halls, fraternities and sororities and other campus organizations, competed in swimwear, formal wear, and talent categories. Finalists answered the kinds of probing questions typical of beauty pageants. A panel of judges determined the winner. Prizes were also given for Mr. Macho, Mr. Congeniality, Mr. Photogenic, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up. Within a few years a category was added for costumes representative of the sponsoring organization (e.g., the Sherman Tank for Sherman House).

From photographs published in the student yearbooks, the swim wear modeled was typically abbreviated. A notable exception was the diver’s wet suit donned by Gary Butchko in 1990.

Contests had themes including “Whatta Man” (1994), “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1995), “Looking for the Next 007” (1997), “Unmasking the Men” (2002), “One Singular Sensation of Men” (2003).

Talents on display have included singing, dancing, poetry recitation, comedy routines, a blues rendition of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, and juggling. One of the more esoteric talents was Tom Thole’s creation of a painting composed of applesauce, grape jelly, spaghetti, and baked beans commemorating the Michelson-Morley Centennial. Candidates have solved Rubix Cubes (in less than 2 minutes), written computer programming code, and set their hands on fire.

Proceeds have benefitted charities including Big Brother/Big Sister program, Ronald McDonald House, Environmental Health Watch, Project Step-Up, the Cleveland Free Clinic, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and many others.

Mr. CWRU pageant, 1980. Vis a Vis, 1981

Below are some of our Mr. CWRUs and their sponsors

1979 - Scott Elliot, Cleveland Institute of Music
1980 - David Brockett, Cleveland Institute of Music
1981 - Mel Jones, Jr., Phi Delta Theta
1982 - Pirooz Pazirandeh, Delta Tau Delta
1983 - Eric Schneider, Sigma Chi
1984 - Doug Christenson
1985 - Joe Waked
1986 - Chris DeHaas, Theta Chi
1987 - John Pickens, Sigma Chi Little Sisters
1989 - Curtis Duncan, Sigma Alpha Mu
1990 - Andrew Hlabse, Zeta Beta Tau
1992 - Steve Pieniak, Sigma Tau
1994 - Mike Chandler, Sigma Alpha Mu
1995 - Mark Jordan, Sigma Alpha Mu
1996 - Emeka Ofobike
1997 - Keith Hovey, Delta Tau Delta
1998 - Nestor Colon, Zeta Beta Tau
2000 - Bill Darnieder
2001 - Adam Evans, Phi Kappa Tau
2002 - Herman Bagga, Phi Mu
2003 - Pete Ritchie, Delta Tau Delta
2004 - Tony Huspaska, Delta Gamma
2005 - Matt Whilden
2010 - David Holcomb, Beta Theta Pi

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