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December 04, 2007

From Duby to Jacobi to ... You?: The Mr. Wolverine Preview

By Kerry Monroe

Did you spot one of your classmates practicing his dance moves in what he thought was a deserted corridor? Hear another discussing which professor he would want to be stuck on a desert island with?

Don’t worry; you’re not going crazy, and neither are they. These lucky gentlemen have recently accepted nominations to participate in the Latino Law Student Association’s (LLSA) annual Mr. Wolverine contest! They will be acting, dancing, and strutting their way into your hearts on January 25, 2008.

The contestants are:

1Ls:
Tom Bousnakis
Joe Jones
Stasek Levchensky
Joe Neely
Ondrej Staviscak Diaz
Josh Van Der Ploeg

2Ls:
Matt Gale
Rob Kim
Manoj Ramia
Zaki Robbins
Travis Zollner

3Ls:
Andrew Adams
Dan Gunderson
Andrew Knepley
Greg Yankee

Mr. Wolverine, one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year, is sponsored by the Grand Rapids firm of Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, and Howlett. The proceeds will go to LLSA’s Project Communidad, a source of summer funding for 1Ls doing public interest work in the Latino community.

For the first couple weeks of the winter term, the contestants will be hard at work in rehearsals three to four days a week, preparing for their performances. But according to contestant Tom Bousnakis, there’s no real competition: “I have the sultry looks of John Stamos, the fierce attitude of Gloria Gaynor, and moves smoother than Vanilla Ice. Who can possibly compete with that?”

Dean Sarah Zearfoss and Professor Mark West will emcee this year’s contest. The competition is comprised of group dance numbers, professor impersonations, skits, and a “Firm Wear” category, in which contestants and their escorts grace the stage in professional wear reflective of their personal styles. The top five contestants, selected by such esteemed judges as Dean Virginia Gordan and Professor Bruce Frier, among others, are then posed on-stage questions.

Professor Frier was a judge last year as well, the first time he attended Mr. Wolverine. He was most surprised by “the depth of show biz talent among our students -- especially the spectacular dance numbers!” According to him, “Much the best part of the evening, though, was the extraordinarily funny film that Mark West and Sarah Zearfoss showed, of typical faculty members in their offices. The two sheep in Kyle Logue’s office were a particularly fine touch.”

This year’s competition will feature a brand new video introduction, and LLSA promises us surprise comedic and musical guest appearances as well! And for the first time ever, an LLM student or visiting scholar will be chosen to participate, as a fun way to incorporate these much appreciated, but often underrepresented, members of our community.

“I personally think Mr. Wolverine is one of the most important nights of the year for the law school community,” said contestant Andrew Knepley. “It’s one of the only chances we get to bring nearly everyone together in one place. Although that makes me pretty nervous, I’m also very excited to finally get my opportunity to vie for the glory that is . . . being Mr. Wolverine.”