Ron Burgundy, the legendary newsman played by Will Ferrell in the upcoming Anchorman sequel, was welcomed in character into an Emerson College theater Wednesday by the applause of more than 150 students and a few dozen professional journalists and news teams.
The faux celebrity journalist was there for a press conference, honoring him, in the words of Emerson President Lee Pelton, for “one day and not a minute more,” at a ceremony temporarily renaming of the college’s School of Communication as the Ron Burgundy School of Communication.
Pelton may have been but a measured fan of the school’s 24-hour name change, but the Massachusetts House of Representatives expressed its approval in a written message.
Massachusetts Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein (CQ), an Emerson alumna, congratulated the college for “always staying classy” and presented the college with the state’s official memento, signed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, congratulating Emerson for changing the school’ name.
Next came a commemorative plaque with a picture of Burgundy’s likeness and an inscription describing his achievements such as “playing the jazz flute” and “having good hair.”
Feigning tears and a muffled sob, Burgundy accepted the plaque, thanked Pelton and then turned to Interim Dean of Communication Phil Glenn.
Apparently confusing him (for just a day, of course) with astronaut and later Sen. John Glenn, Burgundy then proceeded to reminisce about covering Glenn’s lunar orbit, saying, “Around and around you went. No one thought you could do it. You’re a real American hero.”
Glenn played along, twirling a finger in the air.
In his acceptance speech, Burgundy also honored his late father’s memory – sort of -- by saying, “Dad, you can bite me… Because Ron Burgundy has his own school of communication.”
Burgundy was not yet done. He also took questions from professional journalists.
His biggest piece of advice to aspiring journalists, he said, is to “keep a $20 bill in your shoe. You never know. You’re on a field report. You’re in a jail in Peru… You need some cash to get you out of a situation, and you have that $20 sewed into the sole of your shoe.”
When asked what he would be doing with the remainder of his time in Boston, Burgundy said, among other things, he planned to deep fry and eat a piece of sod from Fenway Park and go clubbing with Big Papi.
NECN’s Jackie Bruno approached Burgundy onstage for an autograph and asked, “How do I become a great anchorwoman like you’re a great anchorman?”
To which Burgundy replied, “You’re already hogging the stage. You’re doing a really good job.” He added, “Maybe you should wear a shorter skirt.”
When asked how he, as a news anchor from the ‘70s, maintains his looks, Burgundy said, “I pamper myself and do a lot of yoga,” pronouncing it with a soft “g.”
Though his rein as head of the school was to be limited to a day, Burgundy promised to act swiftly to “make every grade pass fail,” with the stipulation that “if you fail and bring your teacher a nice steak sandwich, you get a pass.”
He also promised to install a swimming pool, bowling alley and a Jacuzzi that would be filled with baked beans once a week.
The press conference came to a close with Burgundy saying, “On behalf of President Pelton, this is the best decision he’s ever made in his career.”
Pelton answered diplomatically. “It’s a memorable decision,” he said.
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.