A New Leader Brings His Own Style and a 'Breath Of Fresh Air'

Undergraduate Council Chair Robert C. Rhew

It's 9 a.m. in Winthrop F-11. Someone is doing pushups in the common room.

Robert C. Rhew '92, the newly-elected chair of the Undergraduate Council, is partaking in a morning exercise ritual. He is not wearing a shirt. In fact, all he is wearing is a pair of Mickey Mouse boxers decorated with red hearts.

Don't be fooled: this carefree exterior belies a potentially dangerous man.

"He's the worst morning person," says Rhew's roommate, Kabir Misra '92. "He's crabby, angry--until he does his pushups. Then he wakes up."

A Pariah No Longer

Those who know Rhew say that when he is fully awake, he shows few signs of his early morning crankiness.

"He's probably more outgoing than I am. He's sometimes insufferably cheerful," says Rhew's sister Kathleen K. Rhew '91, a psychology concentrator in Kirkland House.

One of a rooming group of five, Rhew has certainly learned to appreciate having others around, ever since he endured long hours in a Canaday E single room his first year here. His sister had enjoyed a similar room so much the year before, Rhew says, that her proctor, Colin L. Leitch, assumed that Rhew would be happy to keep the room in the family.

That assumption proved wrong. Very wrong. "I felt like a pariah from the rest of the world," Rhew says.

But the lonely Rhew made the best of an unhappy situation, not willing to easily give up the familiar privileges accorded his more fortunate neighbors. Using Oreo cookies as bait, Rhew lured his entrymates to squeeze into his closet-like room for several 3 a.m. study breaks.

"He was a good sport about it," Leitch says. "Rob was a great spirit in the entryway."

Now a prefect in Canaday A, Rhew still hasn't abandoned his talent for planning first-year activities.

"I would probably ask Rob above anyone else if I had a problem related to adjusting to undergraduate life," says prefectee Jonathan R. Mawdsley '94.

"He's a high-energy guy," Leitch says. "I've been very impressed by how serious he is about student concerns."

Rhew's roommates say they agree with that assessment. "He's always a pillar of strength," Misra says. "If you have problems, you can go to Rob."