The pillar of journalism himself—Ron Burgundy—choked back tears at the Semel Theater on December 4, as Emerson President Lee Pelton officially renamed the School of Communication to the “Ron Burgundy School of Communication.”
“I said I would not get emotional. I’m literally a glass case of emotion,” said Burgundy, in seeming disbelief about the recognition of his work as a journalist. “Of all colleges to give me this esteemed award, to have me be recognized by the Electoral College, it’s extraordinary.”
“I thought you guys only met once every four years,” he said.
Burgundy accepted a plaque of recognition during a press conference packed with journalists and Emerson students. The award was presented to him by Pelton, Phillip Glenn, interim dean of the School of Communication, and Journalism student Muna Moushien ’14.
Pelton reminded Burgundy (actor Will Ferrell) that the renaming of the school would be for one day only “and not a minute longer.”
But Burgundy, who later told a student journalist in the crowd, “You have to report the facts, unless it’s too hard to find the facts,” thanked Pelton and Glenn for allowing the Ron Burgundy School of Communication to “stand here for the test of time.”
“A thousand years from now, when the world is controlled by robots and mutants from the X-Men series, one thing will be standing: The Ron Burgundy School of Communication,” Burgundy said.
“Uh, is that true?” he asked a moment later. “Oh, just one day? Not a minute more? I’ll take it.”
During his one-day reign of power, Burgundy pledged to build a campus pool, bowling alley, and Jacuzzi—and later said he would fill the Jacuzzi with baked beans in honor of his visit to Boston.
Several well-known journalists in the crowd asked Burgundy some hard-hitting questions.
Jon Keller of WBZ-TV asked Burgundy what he thought of young people getting most of their news from Comedy Central.
“I don’t know what Comedy Central is,” Burgundy responded. “I still read the paper. I still get my news from carrier pigeons.”
When a British journalist from Sky News asked a question, Burgundy replied, “First of all, I appreciate your fake accent.”
When alumnus and WGBH-TV reporter Jared Bowen ’98 asked about blurring news and entertainment, Burgundy said, “It’s nice to spice things up. It’s nice to show puff pieces of kittens water skiing.”
Jackie Bruno, anchor at New England Cable News, approached Burgundy to sign her T-shirt, then asked how she could be a great anchorwoman.
“Well you’re already hogging the stage,” Burgundy said.
Also in attendance was State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D-Revere), who is a part-time faculty member in the Communication Studies Department. She presented Glenn a certificate on behalf of the Massachusetts House of Representatives—signed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop).
The State House congratulated the College and Burgundy for “always stayin’ classy.”
Ferrell, whose publicist is alumnus Matt Labov ’90, is using his Burgundy character to promote the release of the movie Anchorman 2 later this month.
There will be a screening exclusively for Emerson students tonight at AMC Loews on Tremont Street. Students had to obtain tickets yesterday.