The Catholic University of America

Feb. 18, 2015

A Unique Tradition Fosters CUA Spirit

  Mike Thorsen
  Mike Thorsen, Mr. CUA 2015

Photo gallery

Hundreds of students cheered as Mike Thorsen, a junior psychology major from Edison, N.J., successfully lifted his dance partner above his head during their recreation of the final routine from the movie Dirty Dancing. Thorsen was named this year’s winner of Catholic University’s all-male pageant, Mr. CUA, the evening of Feb. 13.

A lot has changed since the pageant’s inception in 1996. For one, audience members at this year’s contest could live-tweet from their seats and see their tweets projected on both sides of the stage. One student tweeted, “Loving #MRCUA2015 so far! You're missing out if you're not here!”

In addition to the traditional evening wear, talent, and interview portions, contestants now participate in a lip sync battle, a donut eating contest, and a toilet paper dress-making competition.

The lip sync battles were an audience favorite; they garnered the most applause and the most Twitter activity. Desmond Daniels, assistant director of student conduct and ethical development, asked contestants why no one had performed classic songs yet. One of the contestants took Daniels’s request and chose K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s 1970s hit “That’s the Way (I like it)” for his lip sync song.

Daniels along with Steve Kreider, assistant director of campus activities, and William Jonas, assistant vice president for University relations, served as judges and chose the new Mr. CUA.

In 1999, just three years after the first Mr. CUA event, the University’s residence hall association president described the pageant in a Tower article as “a typical beauty pageant, but with some twists … it started as a spoof on female beauty pageants and we are just keeping it in that tradition.”

Today Mr. CUA is one of the most attended events on campus, said Dave Falcone, a senior finance major from Philadelphia and programming chair for CUA’s event planning committee, Program Board. There was a period in the mid-2000s when the event did not occur, but it was rediscovered in 2011 by Program Board and revived. Board members thought it would be a great way to increase school spirit, Falcone said. “It’s a great night to be a CUA student,” he added.

A few weeks before the event, Program Board members collect about 300 nominations from the student body. Each nominee is then asked to complete an application and Program Board members choose the finalists. This year, nine students competed for the title of Mr. CUA.

Sean Van Gieson  
Contestant performs "The Pursuit of Holiness"  


The audience gave a few of these nine contestants standing ovations for their talent portions. A remix of a Kid Cudi song “The Pursuit of Happiness” renamed “The Pursuit of Holiness,” a medley of Beyoncé performances with backup dancers, and a hypnosis act were favorites.

Jack Mundy, a sophomore psychology major from Lake Grove, N.Y., and Tom Scalfaro, a junior bio-medical engineering major and Program Board member from Lansdale, Pa., hosted the event. Mundy, last year’s Mr. CUA, joked about having to hand over his crown. At the end of the night, though, he congratulated and crowned Thorsen the new winner.




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