Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals presented Willis with its traditional Pudding Pot in honoring him as the group's Man of the Year.
In honoring Willis, the oldest undergraduate drama group in the nation noted he has made a career portraying diverse and dynamic characters in such films as "Look Who's Talking," "Die Hard," "Pulp Fiction," "Armageddon," and "The Sixth Sense."
During the presentation at the Hasty Pudding Theater in Harvard Square, Willis was told he had to "earn" the Pot by showing the "softer side" of his "Bad Boy image."
Members of the group had him put on a gold bra over his tux and don a blonde wig.
"Well, it's come to this," Willis said, obviously enjoying the good-natured ribbing.
Flanked by two male students dressed in drag, Willis said, "This picture's going around the world, I'll tell you that right now."
He said it was an exciting time for him, "Any time I can get up here in front of my peers, put on a gold bra and blonde wig."
Asked later at a news conference how he liked cavorting with Harvard male students in drag, Willis said, "I haven't seen this many men dressed in women's clothing since my bachelor party."
Actually, he added, "It was big fun hanging out with these kids today."
He also said he was particularly honored to receive the Pudding Pot because most of the other awards he has received involved politics of one sort or another, but that "this came from the heart."
"It's been a fun thing for me to do," Willis said. "This is much more fun than pretending that I'm a stern colonel in a POW camp," as he does in "Hart's War."
Willis said there was no particular message to be taken from the movie in the wake of Sept. 11. "It's just a coincidence. I just try to entertain people. That's my job."
He said his real life heroes are the firefighters, the New York Police Department and other personnel who respond to emergencies.
The Hasty Pudding Theatricals presents the Man and Woman of the Year awards annually to performers who have made a "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment."
Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year award has been granted to such entertainers as this year's winner, Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as Meryl Streep, Catherine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Meg Ryan, and Drew Barrymore.
The Man of the Year award, established in 1963, has been presented to such stars as Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Robert DeNiro, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and last year, Anthony Hopkins.