The men with the beards are back in full force – and this month they’re coming to Oklahoma Christian University. President John deSteiguer appeared dressed in camouflage, cap and, of course, a long beard to present the news to ecstatic students that some of the stars of “Duck Dynasty” will be coming to Edmond.
“‘Duck Dynasty’ coming to OC makes me happy, happy, happy,” said junior Lex Moore.
Jase Robertson, the oldest Robertson brother, will make an appearance Monday, March 11 in chapel. His wife, Missy, and his children, Reed, Cole and Mia, who are on spring break, will join him.
“The Quack Pack is here!” said junior Jeremy Lasso.
A&E’s smash hit “Duck Dynasty” features brothers Phil and Si Robertson and Phil’s sons Jase, Willie and Jep, along with their wives and kids. This family is a dynamic, backwoods, Louisiana family who made a fortune making duck calls and now star in their own reality TV show.
“They have values that we love: family and faith,” said Chance Vanover, associate dean of spiritual life. “Beneath all the comedy, you have a show about a family who is dedicated to their faith and to each other.”
The Robertson family will visit Piedmont, Okla. schools as part of their DUCK week. DUCK (Doing Unselfish Charities for Kids) Week is an annual event where students raise money for locals with medical needs. The Robertsons will make their appearance on Sunday, March 10 at Yukon High School. They will then make their way to Oklahoma Christian before their evening appearance at Piedmont High School.
“The Piedmont High School principle is an OC alum,” said Kerri Cunningham, director of events and campus coordination. “He called Neil Arter and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to have him, maybe you guys can piggyback.’”
The camo-clad millionaires, known as the “Duck Commanders,” stay true to their rugged outdoor lifestyle while also managing a multi-million dollar duck call operation.
“We’d been wanting to get somebody from “Duck Dynasty” here, but getting them here is pretty expensive, so being able to piggy-back was a way to do that, ” Cunningham said.
Willie is a graduate of Harding University. The whole family is members of the White Ferry Road Church of Christ, in West Monroe, La., where son Alan (not featured on the show) is the pulpit minister, and Phil is an elder.
“‘Duck Dynasty’ is pretty popular,” said Vanover. “The Church of Christ connection is a big deal. Because he was already in the area, it was like ‘just try’. Because of their celebrity status, we just had to get them to stop by on their way home and speak to the students.”
The response from students was overwhelming. The video posted on Oklahoma Christian’s Facebook page of President deSteiguer making the announcement in chapel was shared 65 times. Twitter exploded with tweets about duck chapel and the now-famous “OCIsHome” hashtag.
“We have had more student excitement and response about them coming than with any other speaker,” Vanover said. “Students are already in chapel. The buzz – people are already excited about it. It’s a great venue – something that really doesn’t compete with anything else.”
The family’s motto is “God, Family, Ducks” and every episode ends with the family praying. The Season 3 premiere on Feb. 27 peaked with 8.5 million viewers, making it A&E’s most-watched telecast in history, as well as the highest viewed reality show of 2013 thus far.
Without being overtly religious, “Duck Dynasty” implements the beliefs that Oklahoma Christian represents.
“There’s not cussing in the show, or immodesty or immorality in the show,” Moore said. “They’re always praying. They don’t try to force it on you, they never talk about religion, but you can tell by the way that they live that they are. So it’s entertainment, but it’s clean entertainment, that people love.”
The administrators’ goal is that students actually hear the message and not just get wrapped up in the excitement of having a TV star visit campus.
“I want to hear about how it feels to be a Christian and have all that attention – how it feels to have everyone look at him,” said Lasso.
Since a high turnout is expected, “Duck Chapel” will be held in the Eagles Nest, which will be able to seat 2,700.
“I hope the kids are going to turn out,” Cunningham said. “There are going to be reserved seats for students. Student participation is our priority.”