He’s no joke

Melissa Dilley

FACT: Chuck Norris didn’t come to Kent State this weekend. Chuck Norris used gravity to bring the ‘We The People Fest’ to him.

Chuck Norris fact: Chuck used to be shy, ridiculed and unhappy. The idolized celebrity revealed this little-known fact to about 500 students and community members yesterday afternoon in Cartwright Hall.

Norris spoke at the “We The People Fest,” a three-day event put together by the Center for Pan-African Culture. Despite coming to Kent State to educate about the government through promoting his best-selling book “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America,” he began his speech by telling the story of his rise from timidness to the superstar he is today.


Video by Drew Biada | TV2 News

“I have overcome trials and tribulations by sheer determination,” Norris said. “I found a way to make it work.”

Norris said he thinks millennials, people born after the 1980s who use technology in everyday life, need to overcome obstacles and come together to improve our country.

“You’re going to make a difference in this country,” Norris said about college students. “We need leaders with integrity and honesty, and from what I have seen from traveling colleges with Mike Huckabee, I am impressed with your generation and its ability to be motivated by more than money.”

Norris, who endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, spoke mostly about his conservative political beliefs, but the diverse audience didn’t seem to mind.

Josie Steeb, senior applied communications major, said she doesn’t agree with Norris’ political beliefs, but still loves “Walker Texas Ranger.”

“Everyone will just listen to him and laugh because of who he is,” Steeb said. “I think people will enjoy seeing him even if they don’t enjoy his views.”

Although the speech had its controversial moments, Norris kept it light with his humor while answering questions from the audience.

The most popular questions were about the infamous Chuck Norris facts. Norris said he reads them all the time, and he thinks they are hilarious.

“My all-time favorite is that they wanted to put my face on Mount Rushmore, but the granite wasn’t strong enough to hold my beard,” Norris said.

Community members, students and even Barack Obama supporters stood to cheer when Norris finished and chanted his name as he left the stage.

Those who attended and bought his book went in the auditorium after the speech for autographs and photos. Most fans took advantage of the opportunity, including Eileen Hagenbaugh of Kent, who said she is a lifelong fan of Norris.

“I came to see him because I love him, but I learned a lot about him today that I didn’t know,” Hagenbaugh said. “He has an absolutely positive outlook, and he gave students a lot of encouragement.”

Norris, who started studying government after he ended his ninth season on “Walker Texas Ranger,” spoke extensively about students making a great impact on the country’s future. He said he dedicated his new book to millennials because they have the power to change the world for the better.

“I think all students, including those at Kent State, should unite with other colleges to overcome our government’s downfalls,” Norris said. “It is going to take a lot of effort and determination to succeed and there will be a lot of bumps in the road, but you never know which bump is going to be the last so you have to keep going.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Melissa Dilley at[email protected].