Big hair, neon and shoulder pads, oh my!
The ’80s are back at Northwestern State in full force with the ultimate ‘Throwback Thursday’ pep rally and concert featuring The Molly Ringwalds, kicking off a three-day celebration of Dr. Chris Maggio becoming NSU’s 19th president.
The Demons Come Out at Night Pep Rally and Back to the ’80s concert on Sept. 14 are sure ways to engage students, alumni and the community, Associate Director of Alumni Affairs Van Erickson said. The evening activities are joint efforts between the First Year Experience, Alumni Affairs, Student Activities Board (SAB) and Student Government Association (SGA).
The ’80s stood out as an iconic era to the Investiture Committee planning events and seemed like a natural choice as a theme, especially since Maggio graduated from NSU himself in 1982.
“We went and really looked back at what NSU was like in the ’80s,” Erickson said. “There’s some really cool stuff that our students should know about.”
Erickson also said he is excited to introduce new students to traditions upheld at the university.
“The number one priority is the students,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Freshman liberal arts and music joint major Kailey Wisthoff said she is excited for the start of the football season and the music aspect of the evening, especially because she is also the freshman scholar for KNWD.
“I adore ’80s music,” Wisthoff said. “I’m ecstatic about experiencing [the pep rally and concert] as a new student at NSU and meeting new people.”
The Molly Ringwalds, named after the iconic actress who starred in cult classics such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink,” cover music from Duran Duran to Beastie Boys to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.
Frontman of The Molly Ringwalds Sir Devon Nooner explained the diversity of music they play stems from the interests of the five band members and is a quality of the era itself. That’s the appeal of the ’80s, he said.
“It was the music, it was the style, it was the fashion,” Nooner said. “There was such variety of music. It was one of the last great decades of music, in my opinion.”
Both events plan to highlight those aspects in several ways, including a scholarship provided by Alumni Affairs and the NSU Foundation for the best-dressed student. The $711 award was how much tuition cost when Maggio was a student; Erickson said First Lady Jennifer Maggio came up with the idea for the scholarship.
Speaking of the band’s name selection, Nooner joked that it sounded better than “The Judd Nelsons.”
“The name sets the tone of what the audience is going to see. You absolutely know that it’s not going to be a ’70s disco cover band,” he said. “I think it’s one of the most important decisions we’ve ever made.”
Nooner also said playing ’80s music for a younger generation is especially gratifying.
“You look at audiences of 17 year olds remembering the lyrics better than I can, and I [lived] through it,” he laughed.
The pep rally will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Tailgate Field and Collins Pavilion, followed by The Molly Ringwalds performing until 10 p.m.