By Madison Purvis
The “Pancake Man” returned to the IMU to perform his renowned task of making and flipping pancakes all morning for University of Iowa students prepping for finals week.
From 6:30-10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jim Kuper, the Pancake Man, was the star of the show at “Flippin’ into Finals” as he served up mounds of pancakes in the IMU Main Lounge as part of Finals@IMU.
Kuper’s pancake business came to life 33 years ago, when he was looking for a business idea that would be fun to do.
He began by making pancakes in a church basement for two years. One day, someone asked him to do a pancake feed. This led to him putting on his first feed for 30 hunters.
After his first event, people kept asking him to make pancakes.
“[The business] did not really take off, though, until I started flipping the pancakes,” Kuper said.
Kuper designed and built the grill he uses so it can fit in the back of his truck, allowing him to go on the road and flip pancakes at a variety of locations. He travels to schools, churches, fundraisers, and universities, including the UI, Iowa State University, the University of Nebraska, and numerous junior colleges.
While Kuper does keeps the show on the road, he has some helpers who lend a hand. He has a few employees who step up and help him when help is needed.
One of such helper is Linda Haith, who has assisted the Pancake Man for about five years and enjoys doing it, for “batter” or worse.
“I keep [Kuper] on track,” Haith said.
She said there are many facets to her job.
“The people are my favorite part of this business; The people make it interesting,” Kuper said. “I also love college kids and getting the chance to meet people I normally wouldn’t get to meet.”
Sophomore Marissa Roseman and junior Dylan Cooke both experienced the Pancake Man for the first time this year. They found out about the event through the After Class website.
“This was a really great event, especially just for a positivity boost,” Roseman said.
Cooke said the event was a great addition to finals week.
“It was a lot of fun, and the free pancakes were obviously a plus,” he said.
Eric Rossow, assistant director of Outreach Programs and Services for Student Life, said the Pancake Man has been a staple during finals week for around five years now.
When he is here for one semester’s finals week, they book him for the next.
Rossow said the idea to bring the Pancake Man to the IMU finals came about from his visiting other campus events throughout the year, such as Homecoming and Dance Marathon.
“We serve 1,100 to 1,200 students, or almost 300 students an hour, on the morning the Pancake Man is here,” Rossow said.
He also said that the feedback they receive from students is positive about this event, part of the reason they keep it going.
“Give me a balcony or a stage, and I’ll flip some pancakes; I love to flip,” he said.