Homecoming Queen Portraits Herald a Forgotten Era

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    By ABRAM CORDELL

    Their portraits line the walls of the third floor of the Wilkinson Student Center, hearkening students back to a different era in BYU?s history.

    They are the pictures of BYU?s homecoming queens, a tradition that BYU carried out from 1937 to 1987.

    The homecoming queen contest was ended in 1988 when the BYUSA president decided the pageant should avoid focusing on outer beauty.

    BYUSA based much of its decision on talks given by Spencer W. Kimball in which he spoke out against crowning individuals queens and kings. Pageant winners have gone on to become Miss Americas and news anchors.

    Ron Clark, director of BYU?s public affairs and guest relations, remembers the pageant fondly. Clark attended BYU from 1965-1972 and participated in the homecoming festivities.

    ?It was very anticipated around homecoming time,? Clark said. ?Traditions at the university were extremely important.?

    Clark?s current job requires him to take visitors around campus and show them historical aspects of campus. He often shows them the portraits in the WSC.

    ?We take guests by those pictures,? Clark said. ?They think it?s wonderful that we did that.?

    The contest was ended in 1988 but the pictures themselves continued to create controversy long after that. In 2001 a push was made to remove the pictures from the WSC, but the Student Advisory Council voted to keep the portraits up as a reminder of past traditions.

    Clark loved the pageant while it was here but doesn?t see it returning to the campus anytime soon.

    ?I don?t think the homecoming queen is something we?ll see in the near future,? Clark said.

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