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President Tom "Buddy the Elf" Kunkel spreads good cheer on St. Nick's Day.

If Santa’s Stand-Ins Look Familiar …

Just as the festive season kicks into a higher gear, things have a tendency to get a bit more serious on campus. It’s not that we’re not looking forward to the holidays, but the mood is somewhat tempered by that other seasonal ritual: Finals.

Eager to spread a little festive cheer on Dec. 6, President Tom Kunkel donned his yellow tights along with his Buddy the Elf persona and headed up the Main Hall stairs looking for a Santa. Joe Webb, vice president of student affairs, was delighted to stand in for St. Nick. The jolly duo commandeered the campus golf cart along with a great big box of goodies and set out to share a little Joy to the (SNC) World.

Joe Webb dressed up as Santa passes out treats to students“We covered a lot of ground,” says embedded photographer Tom Janssen (Office of Communications). “We went to faculty offices, GMS, the Medical College, Boyle Hall … . Tom’s yellow tights were fine but he had issues with his cone-shaped hat. And his pointy galoshes kept coming off.

“I think the highlight for me was when we interrupted a class right in the middle of one student’s presentation. I think she welcomed the break – because she was second in line for a cookie!”

This is not the first year that the seasonally strapped crew at the North Pole has co-opted SNC senior administrators during their Christmas crunch. Over the years, Main Hall has bent its back to this mid-winter mission in many ways, and last year President Brian Buess ’90, with wife Carol (Sessler) Bruess ’90 and pup George, were the first to commandeer the golf-cart sleigh to speed their sharing of seasonal treats.

“It is fun,” says Janssen. “It’s heartwarming to see the smiles and faces of surprise, and the laughs seeing the two prominent figures of the college dressed in a different way. It was great going into the kitchen area of Ruth’s, an area you don’t usually get to see. It was great to see that Tom and Joe cared enough to try to find everyone.”

Dec. 9, 2022