WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue University has new homecoming royalty but this year, a "king and queen" were not named. At Saturday's homecoming game, Lily Bishop and Grant Wood were crowned.
News 18 broke the news in June that the university planned to scrap the titles of "Homecoming King and Queen," for a gender-neutral court. In the past, the top male and female candidates, as selected by students and a formal interview process, were crowned king and queen. Now, the university acknowledges the top two candidates, regardless of gender, as "homecoming royalty."
Eight girls and two boys were on court this year. In the past, there have been an even number of king and queen candidates. John Brock, the head of the spirit and traditions committee for the Purdue Student Union Board, told News 18 in June that this year they chose the best qualified candidates.
"Really just getting people to apply for homecoming royalty court has just been a struggle," said Brock when asked why the inconsistency this year. "Even though we had more than two male applicants, the others we had we decided not to go with just because these female candidates had better resumes, did better things on campus and we felt like they represented campus better."
Bishop and Wood were picked through online student voting and formal interviews by a judging panel. The panel was composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders. The two were crowned during halftime of Purdue's win over Boston College Saturday.
Bishop, of Cincinnati, is majoring in industrial engineering in the College of Engineering. Wood, of Indianapolis, is majoring in biology in the College of Science, according to a news release.
Members of the Homecoming court were: Laura Boodt of Carmel, Indiana; Adam Cullers of Greenwood, Indiana; Katie D’Addato of Frederick, Maryland; Morgan Montgomery of Carmel, Indiana; Lindsay Neufer of Fishers, Indiana; Bailey Ransburg of New Palestine, Indiana; Caroline Shanley of Fishers, Indiana; and Maci Tetrick of Plainfield, Indiana.
The following statement was provided to News 18 in June about the change:
"In celebration of inclusivity and diversity, Purdue University’s Homecoming Court and Royalty has moved to a gender-neutral court transitioning away from the long-standing practice of crowning a king and queen. These ten candidates were selected by student-involved faculty and staff members of the Purdue community, who embody the values we hold true as Boilermakers, regardless of gender. In years past, the top two candidates, as selected by their peers and formal interview process, were crowned as “King & Queen” before the Homecoming Football Game. Moving forward, we will acknowledge the top two candidates as Homecoming Royalty award winners during the Homecoming Football Game on September 22. The Homecoming Court and Royalty process is hosted by the Purdue Student Union Board Spirit & Traditions committee with support from various campus partners." - Angelica McLean, Program Advisor Purdue Memorial Union