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Queens through the decades

A look at the changing fashions and selection processes of Homecoming queens

Here’s a look at how Homecoming queens have been picked: In 1941, Betty Hall was named Homecoming queen at the dance held in Rothwell Gymnasium on the eve of the game. The voters were dancers at the party.

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The following year, Edith Dailey was crowned during an intermission of the dance. Various university divisions nominated queen candidates, and the winner was determined by whose division completed the largest war stamp and bond sale per capita of enrollment. Dailey represented the School of Law, whose per capita contribution was about $1.

By 1945, a panel of judges selected the queen, Katherine Petersen, from a group of 18 candidates from women’s houses on campus. The judges — local politicians and representatives of the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce — chose based on personality, appearance and charm.

The year 1956 brought another change: After preliminary judging and eliminations narrowed the field to seven nominees, a popular vote of students elected Katherine Shannon as queen.

In 1960, students once again cast deciding votes, but not before a committee of faculty members and townspeople selected 10 candidates. The queen was Dusene Vunovich.

Fast forward to current day. “Today’s selection process is pretty rigorous,” says Carrie Bien, BA, BJ ’09, coordinator of student programs for the Mizzou Alumni Association. First, campus organizations nominate candidates, who submit paper applications that are reviewed by a panel of judges. After two rounds of interviews, judges narrow the pool to five women and five men who make up Top 10 Homecoming Royalty. This group attends Homecoming events in October, and all students can vote online for the queen and king until the Thursday before Homecoming. “The queen and king are selected based on the combined scores from their applications, interviews, attendance at events and campus voting,” Bien says.

No matter how the queen is chosen, she is crowned on arguably the happiest day of the Mizzou calendar, reigns for a year and lives forever young in scrapbooks and Savitar yearbook photos. Long live the queen!

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