A medal replaces the crown: TCU embraces gender-neutral homecoming award


By Kyla Vogel

Since 1944, one man and one woman have received recognition during homecoming celebrations at TCU. However, in 2020, the university began to recognize one “Outstanding Senior” with a medal.

Similar to several universities around the nation, TCU is stepping away from the traditional homecoming monarchy. Over the past few years, schools such as Purdue University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Oklahoma have made the change to a more inclusive award title. 

The shift is taking place to support all students who enter the process, according to the assistant director of student activities, Kelly Lee.

Chase Berry, the 2021 Outstanding Senior, said that change is a step in the right direction.

“The new title is more inclusive because it allows for students that are not within the gender binary to be given the award.”

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“This is one of the first years TCU has implemented it. There might be some kinks to work out but, overall, TCU is still striving for inclusion, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Berry.

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2021 Outstanding Senior nominee Bailey Alexander said she is a sucker for traditions. “I understand the change, but feel that Mr. and Miss TCU best represents homecoming. The title of Mr. and Miss TCU seems so honoring, but Outstanding Senior doesn’t quite encompass the same meaning to me.”

Lee, who oversees the Outstanding Senior tradition at homecoming, said “we are always changing and improving our traditions for campus.”

No matter the name, the purpose behind it is still the same,” said Lee. She said the new title captures the purpose of the award: honoring the seniors that have worked hard and have been involved around campus. 

The homecoming awards have undergone a variety of changes throughout the school’s history.

Homecoming “King and Queen” were the first terms used at TCU to recognize the seniors that won the award.

President Sadler giving roses to 1960 Homecoming Queen Lou Ann Ramey. Photo courtesy of TCU Digital Repository.

However, in 1998, “Mr. and Miss TCU” took over and were used to crown Kaitlyn Bloomquist and Jason Illian.



In 2019, Jeromy McKnight and Mary Alex Edmiston were the last to be named Mr. and Miss TCU. That year also marked the end of the term “Homecoming Court.” 

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There are now eight “Outstanding Senior nominees” instead of 10 “Homecoming Court candidates.” 

This story was originally published on Oct 28, 2021.