By Jeffrey Hendrix
Student Writer, EKU Communications and Marketing
If any Eastern Kentucky University student understands the expression “enthusiasm is contagious,” it is the “Candy Man.”
Christopher Butcher, a sophomore statistics major, gained the nickname “Candy Man” months before he attended the University. When deciding between multiple universities as a senior at South Laurel High School, it all started as a simple joke on his Twitter page: “@EKUAdmissions better step up their game because (a rival school) sent me some candy.”
Days later, when EKU Admissions staff members surprised Butcher — and 86 other future Colonels — during class at his school, they brought more than candy. He received EKU shirts, a banner, and other University paraphernalia. Fellow prospective students at South Laurel each received a bag of Starbursts with a note that read: “We are bursting with happiness that you’re a #FutureColonel.” From then on, Butcher became known by his peers as the “Candy Man,” and decided soon to become a Colonel.
The staff’s gesture to Butcher left such a lasting impression that he now works part time for Admissions as a digital recruiter, connecting with prospective students via social media. “Before the appearance at my high school happened, I had already thought about an on-campus job,” he said, “but when that happened, I knew I’d like to work for the Office of Admissions.”
Butcher has used his unique experiences as a prospective student to help him in his recruiting role. The “Candy Man” episode “opened doors for me by giving me perspective on recruitment and allowing me to make friends,” he said.
Though he hasn’t traveled miles to deliver a surprise basket like he once received, he said that the office tries to “do something we consider unique or more involved every so often.”
Butcher’s experiences with Admissions also exposed him to the University’s school spirit and sense of community. “Eastern is a unique college,” he said, “unique in the sense that we are involved in students’ success and will go out of our way to help. That not only is representative through the Office of Admissions but the University as a whole.”
During his time with Eastern, Butcher has gained friends, fame and a part-time job he loves, but he believes the University has also impacted his life in other ways. Eastern “allowed me to broaden my perspective on what I want to do with my life. I would be lost without the help of the faculty and staff here at EKU and the personal relationships I have with them.”
Does the “Candy Man” have any advice for high school upperclassmen who can’t decide on a school? “Don’t just go for the first thing that comes to you,” he suggested. “Do your research, find your best fit and go from there and, if you’re someone who is interested in EKU, you can always feel free to contact me.”
Prospective students with questions can reach the “Candy Man” at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (@topherbutcher).