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Homecoming queen custom changes through the years

Nov. 12, 1999



'And this year's homecoming queen is . . .' Nominees wait nervously, anticipating the next words--and then her name is called. She gracefully walks forward to receive her crown and take her place as Baylor's homecoming queen.

More than 75 years have past since Baylor crowned its first homecoming queen, and though the overall tradition remains the same, many aspects of it have changed.

When the first official homecoming queen was crowned in 1934, judges along the parade route rated each float, and the nominee riding on the best float was named queen, according to the Baylor Chamber of Commerce.

'At that time things were very different. The float was 50 percent and the girl was 50 percent,' Mary Ann Thomas, the 1967 Baylor homecoming queen, said.

Today, the judges choose the homecoming queen based on an interview and formal application process, said Joshua Pittman, a Waco senior and Chamber member.

Not only is the judging different, but the presentation of the queen has changed.

Currently the homecoming queen is announced at Thursday night's Pigskin Revue performance. In 1967, the nominees were kept in suspense until halftime at Saturday's football game.

'[The winner] was announced at the game, and it was surprise,' Thomas said. 'In my opinion, it's very unclimatic to know the winner before the game.'

Thomas's husband, Dr. Bill Thomas, a former Kappa Omega Tau member and current accounting and business law professor, recalls the suspense the day his wife, then the KOT sweetheart, was crowned homecoming queen.

'I can remember sitting there just barely being able to keep my eyes open. When the queen was announced it meant not only that the girl won, but that the float won and the club won. That was an exciting time for all of us. My fraternity still can't believe I got the girl.'

One important thing about the homecoming queen process has not changed -- the honor of being nominated.

'We send out a letter to every organization on campus inviting them to nominate someone for their homecoming queen,' Pittman said. 'There are 268 organizations on campus and we average about 60 nominees each year. This year, there are 64.'

The freshman, sophomore, junior and senior homecoming queen representatives are nominated on the same ballot that students use to vote for government officers in the fall.

The nominees have meetings, picture appointments, an interview, a Chapel-Forum appearance, Thursday's Pigskin performance and the parade Saturday, Bassett said.