Arriving in a Buddy the Elf costume to deliver milk, cookies and Christmas cheer to students, Judson University President Gene C. Crume Jr. declared, "This is awesomeness!"
Crume ditched the suits (as in business and Santa suits) for the annual "Storm the Dorms" event late Wednesday night. He was on hand to visit and chat with students on campus as they crammed during finals week. Crume stayed in the movie character most of the time, asking students what their favorite color was, declared he liked to smile and had many recite the Code of the Elves with him. But he always stepped out of character to ask students how their finals were going.
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Most students recognized him, while others had no clue, and it was those students who broke out into fits of laughter once they realized who he was.
"It's not every day you see your president in an elf costume," said sophomore Amie Anderson of Elgin, clutching a homemade cookie.
Crume and a team of more than 20 faculty and staff volunteers delivered approximately 1,200 cookies and 24 gallons of milk to students living on campus in four dorms and those studying at the Harm A. Weber Academic Center. Special care packages of cookies and cartons of soy milk were available for students with gluten, nut or dairy allergies.
It was Crume's first time participating in the event. He chose the character for a few reasons, including the past president dressed as Santa Claus, most students are familiar with the movie, and it's a favorite holiday movie for the Crume family.
"The cool thing is the quotes are universal. They relate to happiness and goodness and that sense of innocence that Will Ferrell brought to the role," Crume said. "During finals week, what students need is a little bit of a lift, so this is what it's all about."