North Texas Daily

The Ellen Degeneres Show comes to UNT

The Ellen Degeneres Show comes to UNT

The Ellen Degeneres Show comes to UNT
December 10
23:12 2014

Nicholas Friedman / Design Editor

The Ellen Degeneres Show made a trip to UNT Wednesday as part of the show’s “12 Days of Giveaways” segment. Attendees who were the first to win Ellen’s challenge of finding five gift boxes scattered throughout campus were treated to a J.C. Penney gift card ranging from $250 to $5,000.

Around 3:30 p.m., students, residents and others dressed as presents flooded the Library Mall after a cryptic tweet from Ellen asked people to dress up as a present to receive a present.

“It was spur of the moment and something I thought would be fun with time off from finals and studying,” advertising junior Hannah Wachholz said.ellen_web2

Students dressed as presents at the Library Mall on Wendesday hold signs that read “Ellen is a gift.” News broke on Twitter yesterday that Ellen’s TV show would film on campus, and she asked people to dress as presents to receive presents.

Wachholz helped her friend get in costume with supplies they were given before the crowd filed in.

Shortly before the taping of the show began, producer Tracy Gold and on-air correspondent Jeannie Klisiewicz selected members of the crowd dressed as presents and gift boxes to come on stage and be front and center for the show.

“I’m here to win a prize and to be on TV because I’m a broke college student,” chemistry junior Jeffrey O’Connor said.

UNT President Neal Smatresk was in the audience and took time to talk to students and take a few pictures.

“It’s Halloween gone Christmas,” Smatresk said. “I love what our students have done. If this isn’t the most creative campus around, I don’t know what is.”

Microphone trouble caused concern among producers, but this was quickly quelled as the crowd cooperated once the show began recording.

When it was UNT’s turn to go on, the crowd went wild.


UNT President Neal Smatresk photographs a crowd of students at the Library Mall this afternoon. Students filled the area for a taping of the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Ellen appeared on a small screen facing the Hurley Administration Building and addressed producer Gold and the crowd behind her. Ellen then stated her challenge: find five gift boxes hidden on campus. When Ellen said “Go!” the frenzy began.

McKinney resident Brooke Long and her son Gavin, who carried a sign saying “Elfin,” were among the winners as their box revealed they had won the top prize, a $5,000 J.C. Penney gift card.

Broadcast journalism senior Alex Housden and biology senior Connor Yarbrough won the $250 gift card dressed in a two-person gift box costume. Jordan Flaherty , a health science exchange student from the University of Minnesota, won the $500 gift card; undeclared sophomore Ryan Boyce won the $700 gift card; and Tarrant County College freshman Melissa Vasquez won the $1000 gift card.

All of the winners were featured individually on the show and stayed after to take pictures with each other and the producers.

Fingerless gloves were handed out to people in the crowd as additional gift cards were given to those with specific birthdays. As the show ended and the crew packed up the set, winners posed for pictures with each other.

“I drove here with my coworkers and son,” Long said. “It was a dream come true.”

The episode will air Thursday at 3 p.m. on NBC.

Featured Image: Chemistry junior Jeffrey O’Connor shows off his gift box costume. O’Connor was one of many selected to be on-air. Photos by Nicholas Friedman – Design Editor

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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