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ORANGE : Winner of Vote Puts Bare Face Forward

March 03, 1995|LESLEY WRIGHT

After 23 years of disguising a weak chin with a thick beard, Chapman University Dean Joe Kertes is back to what some called a "turtle-without-a-shell" look.

Kertes, Chapman's dean of students, lost his salt-and-pepper beard and mustache but won a vote of confidence from students and staff as part of a charity event sponsored by a campus group called Disciples on Campus.

Students and faculty had chosen him from three bearded candidates as the person they most wanted to see shaved. It cost a dollar to vote in the contest, which raised $1,500.

Thursday, more than 400 students, faculty and staff crammed into the dining hall to cheer Kertes as he faced a razor, a bowl of warm water and a tiny mirror.

A line of students had paid an extra $2 for the privilege of taking swipes out of his beard and, half an hour later, Kertes finished the deed with shaving cream. "It felt really bizarre," he said. "I didn't really get the full impact until I went up to the men's room. I look like a completely different person."

The 48-year-old Kertes discovered a side benefit when he gave his wife that first clean-faced kiss: "It was great to feel the full impact," he said.

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