Homecoming Contest: The Ugliest Man on Campus
The Ugliest Man on Campus is an annual contest held at Georgia Tech. It was established in the mid twentieth century by the service fraternity on campus, Alpha Phi Omega, as a fundraiser, and later developed into one of the many contests on campus during homecoming week. The candidates are nominated by their peers, and are then voted on throughout homecoming week by means of donations. The winner is then distinguished as the Ugliest Man on Campus, and earns points for his homecoming team to add to their total. Since the contest began in 1940, various changes have been made to the process of this contest, but the main objective of it remains the same: Raise as much money as possible for charity and have some fun doing it in the process. Due to the fact that this contest has always been completely volunteer based, there has been no hazing observed throughout its existence. This contest not only serves as an excellent fundraiser, but also as a true representation of school pride, showing others that Georgia Tech is proud of all its students, even the Ugliest Man on Campus.
The First Year
The Ugliest Man on Campus was created by Alpha Phi Omega. APO, as they are known around Georgia Tech's campus, is a national service fraternity. This co-ed service fraternity was founded on a national level in 1925 and was later expanded to Georgia Tech in 1939. The fraternity was founded by Frank Reed Horton and 13 other former Boy Scouts, with its beliefs based on the Scout Oath and Law. Each member of the fraternity is expected to live his or her life according to the main principles of this Oath and Law and provide service on a regular basis. With over 300,000 members, the fraternity is one of the fastest growing college organizations in the world today.
The First Announcement of The Ugliest Man on Campus Contest
On December 6, 1940, the words "Votes for Sale!" formed the headline that introduced the First Annual Ugliest Man on Campus contest. This catch-phrase was posted in the school newspaper, "The Technique", to draw attention to this new event on campus, which would eventually spark into a bigger and better event each year. The contest was introduced to the students by stating its purpose, when the event would be held, and naming the first candidates. The event was to be held on December 16, 17, and 18, during the holiday season. All proceeds of the event would be used to buy Christmas baskets for the poor. Nominees were required to approve their nomination, and all fraternities were encouraged to nominate one person. Any fraternity that did not select a candidate to enter in this event was accused of having "so many terribly ugly members that it was just impossible to chose the ugliest one." The first five candidates were Tommy Pierce of Chi Phi, Eugene Trobough of Pi Kappa Alpha, Herbert Ableson of Tau Epsilon Phi, Royster Johnson of Sigma Chi, and Sidney Walker McCabe of Beta Theta Pi. Each vote could be bought for one cent, and the candidate with the most ballots in his name at the end of the voting session would be deemed the Ugliest Man on Campus.
The First Winner
Sidney Walker McCabe of Beta Theta Pi was announced as the first winner of the "Ugly Man" contest. The total proceeds of the inaugural contest was one hundred and eight dollars, which was used to buy Christmas baskets for the poor in Atlanta. McCabe's victory was convincing as his ballots tripled those of his runner up, Eugene Trobough of Pi Kappa Alpha. Eugene was a bit bitter after his defeat, and he "called all his voters to join him in 'loyal' opposition." However, the main focus of this election was the location of McCabe during the award ceremony. When questioned about his absence at the ceremony and if he was excited to be the winner, McCabe replied, ""Happy at winning? I'm overwhelmed! I've always had a burning desire to be a big man on campus, but I never contemplated becoming both a Big Man On Campus and the Ugliest Man On Campus!"
Change over Time
Over the years, two main changes have been made to the details of the "Ugly Man" contest. First off, the ballot system has been altered. When the contest first began in 1940, the ballots were bought for one cent a piece, and the total number of ballots would determine the winner. The ballots were then removed, and money was the new form of the ballot. Instead of tallying the number of ballots in each candidate's jar, the total money in each candidate's jar would be the decision maker. This encouraged people to donate more money since they did not have to fill out a new slip for each ballot they purchased. However, the changes to this system then altered again. A negative vote was installed into the voting system. Today, people can chose to either vote for their candidate or against opposing candidates. All coins entered into a candidate's jar are counted as positive votes, while all paper money is counted as negative votes. This new way of voting has increased the proceeds of this contest tremendously, and has made the competition even more fierce. The second change made over the years since this contest has existed its timing. Since the "Ugly Man" contest was originally established as a fundraiser, the most ideal time to have the event was during the holiday season. However, as the contest became more popular, the event has turned into a homecoming event too. Now the winner not only has the distinction of being the Ugliest Man on Campus, but also the pride of winning homecoming points for his team.
Present Day Contest
The Ugliest Man on Campus contest is now run during homecoming week each year. The positive and negative voting system based on coins and paper money is still in place, but there are now multiple Ugly Men on Campus. There are four divisions, Inter Fraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic, Independent, and Hall Council. The winner of each division will win points towards their team's total in their respective divisions. The picture submitted may be altered to make the candidate look more ugly than he normally is, rather than using a formal picture. The event has been modified to attract both more candidates and more contributors to such a worthy cause. Goergia Tech takes pride in every one of its students, especially the Ugliest Man on Campus.
- ↑ http://apo.uaa.alaska.edu/azh/howtojoin.html
- ↑ The Technique, Volume 20, Page 1, Dec 6 1940
- ↑ The Technique, Volume 20, Page 1, Jan 10 1941
- ↑ Homecoming 2010. (1 October 2010). Retrieved 22 October 2010 from http://homecoming.gatech.edu/drupal/sites/default/files/hc_rules_book_0.pdf