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Tommy Thayer Goes To College - Board Approved

Sep 06, 2005 | Posted in News & Updates

Tommy Thayer

KISS STAR PICKS UP GIG AS UNIVERSITY TRUSTEE
By Sophia Tareen

Straight-laced Pacific University may be loosening up a bit.

The newest member of its board of trustees is the lead guitarist of KISS, the 1970s heavy metal band known for its elaborate makeup and costumes, stadium pyrotechnics and high-volume mantra that spoke of the need to "rock and roll all night and party every day."

Tommy Thayer, a Cedar Hills native and 1978 graduate of Sunset High School, was elected this summer to the board of trustees. He joined business executives, doctors and former Gov. Vic Atiyeh on the board guiding the 2,500-student liberal arts college.

On the road, Thayer wears the sequined black leotard abandoned in 2002 by Ace Frehley, a founding member of KISS. He becomes "The Spaceman," duplicating Frehley's trademark makeup that includes a white base with a silver-and-black mask around both eyes.

He is the only rock star on the Pacific University board.

The board's 37 other members unanimously voted to add Thayer. Trustees said they wanted to notch down the average age of board members — Thayer is 44 — and maybe find a potential donor. And even earn a little attention.

"I made it clear that I expect to see them all at the next Portland concert," Thayer said. "I told them I'd provide the earplugs."

Board members said Thayer's father, Jim Thayer Sr., past president of the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce, recommended his son for the position. The elder Thayer is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and civilian aide to the U.S. Secretary of the Army. He also serves as a trustee at Reed College and on the Tuality Hospital Foundation.

When The Spaceman takes a break from touring and belting out KISS anthems — with lyrics including "I'm a hooligan/I won't go to school again . . ." — Thayer will come to Forest Grove four times a year for daylong budget meetings and debates over the finer details of building design as the school expands to Hillsboro.

"It's an opportunity to get involved in the home front and be a little less conventional," Thayer said. "You never know, maybe I'll end up taking some classes."