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Fame often has a strange way of thrusting its burdensome weight upon the unwitting shoulders of history's bystanders. That is, of course, if one considers being the substitute voice for PARIS a position of importance in the University's annals. Tad Davis' voiceovers are just a small part of the Penn Automated Registration and Information System – you can hear him announce room numbers and enrollment in just a few departments such as Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. But thousands of students hear his voice as they scramble to register for new classes. There's got to be some fame in that, right? "Basically, I do the software maintenance," said Davis, the lead programmer analyst at the University Management Information Services at 3401 Walnut Street. "As things needed to be added or changed, I, by default, was chosen." And despite many students' claims that PARIS is really a computer, Davis explained that most of the voices were done by a Columbus, Ohio, disc jockey a number of years ago. Davis' voice is used only as a substitute. Davis said he never considered lending his voice to PARIS as a step into stardom. He was just doing his job. "I haven't really thought about it," Davis said. What Davis does think about is the PARIS system, which he administrates and helped implement when he was a systems analyst. As of now, PARIS can maintain 48 simultaneous calls, issue grades and track past semesters' performance. Assistant Registrar Janet Ansert said students are generally pleased with the system. "I hope the students are happy," she said. Indeed, they are. PARIS has gained cult popularity among students, many of whom have seemingly developed relationships with the system and its deep, throaty voice. After all, who doesn't love to hear those reassuring words, "You are enrolled." And who hasn't wondered what the "PARIS guy" looks like? College sophomore Melissa De Leon has. "I think he's about 6-1," she said. "He wears a gray suit with a navy tie. He has brown hair and has a pronounced chin?He's just a stud." Davis said he doesn't have any particularly favorite lines or intonations of the PARIS voice. He is partial to the PARIS menu which informs the caller that a chosen section is closed, and then offers other available sections. "I get a little thrill of pleasure of knowing how much goes on behind all of that," Davis said, clinging to his programming roots. He thinks his voice sounds fine, and is only concerned about it when "there is a change in the course of dialogue" from his voice to the original PARIS voice. Such is the life of the substitute.

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