University of Richmond’s Help Desk Manager Scott Tilghman has played Santa many times for family events. In what has become a campus tradition, he also dons the suit each year to bring holiday cheer to hundreds of students during their final exams.

When the University’s Information Services Division purchased Segways in 2005 so they could easily travel across campus to address IT needs, Tilghman thought dressing up as Santa while riding a Segway and handing out candy canes would be a great way to bring smiles to students. He was right, and it’s why he’s been doing it ever since.

“It’s like magic. It really is,” said Tilghman. “It comes with a lot of responsibility. You know it when you put on the suit.”

Segway Santa will make the rounds on campus Dec. 11 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The first year Tilghman handed out 200 candy canes, which he quickly realized was not enough. This year he expects to hand out 700 while wishing students good luck on their exams and safe winter break travels.

While dressing as Santa is loads of fun, Tilghman says he recognizes the bigger impact of helping students stressed during their finals week.

“I’m around our students a lot. I know how serious and dedicated they are. Just for a minute, you see them be kids again,” Tilghman said. “They smile, and take selfies. You see them in a stressful time and they get the holiday spirit.”

Students often share photos using the hashtag #SegwaySanta.

###