Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 1, 2016

Justin Lasser

DATES AHOY! Professor Justin Lasser checks the horizon for potential dates on the premier of ABC's "The Bachelor."

Professors Get 'Real'

Sarah Farnam

As the weather in North Manchester begins to heat up, so will the drama on this year’s most popular reality shows. Three Manchester University professors will be racing, dancing and dating on primetime TV this summer.

When ABC executives travelled to Indianapolis to scout for the next potential Bachelor, they fell in love with and immediately offered the position to religion professor Justin Lasser. “I’ve been single for a few years now and there are just too many options in North Manchester,” Lasser said. “I was overwhelmed.”

This season, rather than flying contestants out to the luxurious Bachelor mansion in Los Angeles, the 25 women competing for Lasser’s heart will be staying in North Manchester. In preparation, he is currently expanding his home and mapping out romantic spots in the Eel River, which will have to do in lieu of a pool.

Lasser plans to take advantage of local hot spots for his one-on-one dates with the women, naming the Main View and Kenapocomocha as two key locations. He adds that, to be romantic, he will take the women to “the abandoned building across the street from the Main View – candlelit, with the birds and the droppings.”

Though Lasser is thrilled to have the opportunity to find love, he is not looking forward to breaking hearts. “I’m a softie, so it’s hard to do that,” he explained. “I’ll do it with tears, definitely.”

While Professor Lasser hopes to find love, English professor Beate Gilliar hopes to take home the mirrorball trophy at the end of Dancing With the Stars. After taking notice of her talent and love for dance, producers invited Gilliar to act as one of the professional dancers featured on the show. She accepted, hoping to get the opportunity to dance with the star of her dreams: John Travolta.

Though she can take on any style from quickstep to crumping, she is hoping she will get to tango this season. “It’s a very classic dance, it tells a story – it’s a very dramatic story,” she said. “Of course, it’s a very structured dance. The way you look, the degree of the angle of your head, the clothes, and even a centimeter of distance changes the narrative of the movement.”

Gilliar also has a nostalgic connection to the dance style. “Tango was my father’s favorite dance, and every Christmas and every birthday I would present my dad with a tango CD or tape,” she said.

As for the competition, Gilliar is not worried. “I cannot imagine anybody better than me and John Travolta,” she said.

Meanwhile, philosophy professor Jonathan Krull will be dashing across the world on CBS’s The Amazing Race. At the time when competitors were being selected, Krull had a unique reason for auditioning. “I was fleeing from prosecution at the time,” he said. “I realized this was going to be a very good way for me to get out of the country for long enough.”

While some opt to play by the rules, Krull has a different strategy for success. “Well, generally (my strategy) is to bribe and flout laws as much as possible, because it’s way more efficient for getting across the country,” he said. “So, if I can find taxi drivers who are willing to, you know, run across lanes or sidewalks, that’s where you can really cut your time down.”