On a cloudless night, while the campus slept, four friends brought to fruition a plan that had been weeks in the making.

Drew Bennett, Zac Halbert, Aaron Montgomery and Sterling Strait had first made the suggestion of “borrowing” President Hagood’s portrait as a joke. In its earliest inception, the idea was nothing more than a throwaway gag mentioned between friends while passing through Emerson Administration Building. But the joke resonated and within days had given way to a plot, complete with an acquisition plan, an escape strategy, and a rough sketch of the endgame.

...a smiley face and a promise that President Hagood was merely on vacation....

The execution of the plan took place shortly before spring break. Responsibilities were given to each of the four members. Two members of the group were to covertly lurk inside Emerson Administration Building until after hours and to remove the portrait from the wall. The third member was tasked with monitoring the activities of the security team and placing a red herring security call at the opportune time. The fourth was tasked with constructing a viable alibi for the evening activities of the four partners in crime as well as providing getaway transportation.

Had security detail been anywhere in the vicinity of the administration building at 2:00 a.m. that night, they would have seen the two black-clad figures sprinting at full speed from the building to a nearby car, presidential portrait in tow. Instead, security was summoned to the building the following morning by a report that the portrait was missing. In its stead was a placeholder poster that bore a smiley face and a promise that President Hagood was merely on vacation and would soon return.

Hagood Across the Northwest

See the road trip adventures of President Hagood's portrait, courtesy of Aaron Montgomery.

The group then took the portrait on their spring-break road trip. As they stopped in various scenic locations – San Francisco, Reno, Las Vegas, Point Loma, to name a few – a picture was taken of the president’s portrait in front of an iconic landscape. When the group returned from the trip, an e-mail account was created from which these pictures were sent to the student newspaper in hopes that the Crusader editors would see fit to publish them. They did.

Months later, members of the NNU community exited the Idaho Center at the conclusion of Baccalaureate to find a small table displaying the pictures of the portrait in a variety of exotic locations. Propped up against the table was the portrait itself, relinquished to the administration. The four were thrilled not only to have successfully completed the prank, but also to learn a short while later that President Hagood himself thoroughly enjoyed the entire ordeal.

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