With the return of alumni and events all week, Homecoming's 90th year is a time for celebration on and around campus.
One tradition is the selection of the Homecoming Court, and the crowning of a Homecoming king and queen. After being nominated by their organizations, students campaign for a spot in the top 20.
Here are the members of the 2016 Homecoming Court.
The Homecoming King Candidates:
Mitch Prather, Exercise Science Club
Mitch Prather, a senior exercise science major, said being on the Homecoming Court feels like a real honor.
“I try to do so much for the club throughout the year. Knowing I get to represent it at Homecoming is great,” he said.
Prather was nominated last year, but didn’t make the top 10. Winning this year means he gets to represent the Exercise Science Club and the other organizations he’s in.
“It would be a way to unify wide aspects of campus,” Prather said.
He said he plans on joining the Coast Guard to become a rescue swimmer after he graduates.
“I’ve always wanted to serve in some way,” Prather said. “I think this is the best use of my talents and interests, and it lets me make a direct impact on citizens.”
Nnamdi Anene, Black Student Association
Being nominated for Homecoming king is a humbling experience, said Anene, a sophomore biology major.
“I’m grateful that people recognize the good I’ve been doing, that people see me as a leader,” he said.
Although he still has two more years of school at Ball State, Anene knows his goals.
“I would love to go to dental school and become an oral surgeon,” he said. “I’m just going to keep striving for my dream.”
Lee Bard, Epsilon Sigma Alpha
Lee Bard, a senior psychology major, said he has been inspired by the energy his freshman resident assistant had when she was Homecoming queen.
“Getting to see the excitement and joy [my RA] had has given me the desire to represent all of the organizations I’ve been in, as well as the greater Ball State community,” Bard said.
Bard said he wants to pursue a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling, as well as a doctorate degree in counseling psychology. He said he also wants to open his own practice.
“I feel like [counseling] comes naturally,” he said. “I enjoy listening, and it’s a rewarding opportunity to improve the quality of life.”
Another passion Bard has is for multiculturalism; he said he would like to educate the community where he lives on the subject.
Jacob Germann, National Residence Hall Honorary
Jacob Germann, a junior interpersonal communication major, said he was shocked to be nominated for Homecoming Court.
“I’m representing a very small organization,” he said. “I didn’t expect to be in the top 20 by any means.”
Even being nominated is exciting for Germann because the student body had a say, he said.
“It would be cool to know that people actually want me [as king],” Germann said.
Germann is currently planning to get his master’s degree in student affairs and higher education. He said he would like to work as a hall director or in the office of admissions at a university.
Ford Johnson, Chi Omega
Ford Johnson, a sophomore supply chain management major, said it’s been great being nominated for Homecoming Court.
“I’m not used to putting myself out there,” Johnson said. “I’ve gotten to know so many new people that are older who I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to talk to.”
He was on Homecoming Court in high school and finished as a runner-up.
Although he is a sophomore, Johnson has goals in mind.
“I want to go to law school and hopefully work at Ball State as its contract law lawyer,” he said. “I originally wanted to be a teacher, so this way I could still work with students.”
Lafayette Jordan, Student Government Association
Lafayette Jordan, a junior political science major, said he never thought he would make it into the top 20.
“Having my peers select me says a lot about how they view me,” Jordan said. “It gives me a different perspective on how I’m viewed.”
Having been inspired by his grandparents who worked in government, Jordan would like to run for public office —after attending law school, that is.
“I want to serve as a political analyst,” he said. “As for public office, I want to start as mayor and continue as high as I can go. There are no limits.”
Jacob Logeman, Dance Marathon
For Jacob Logeman, it’s an honor to represent Dance Marathon.
“I love this organization so much,” Logeman said. “I’m so happy to represent Dance Marathon at Homecoming.”
Although he has never been Homecoming king before, Logeman was prom king in high school.
Logeman, a senior telecommunications major, wants to have a career in film after graduation. He also has a minor in screenwriting, and would like to write on the side.
“My dream job would be working for Ellen DeGeneres or HGTV,” Logeman said.
Malik Ojuri, Alpha Tau Omega
Malik Ojuri, a senior professional selling major, said being nominated for Homecoming Court feels like a blessing.
“It’s nice to have been voted on by students and faculty,” Ojuri said. “It’s a fun experience to be around so many [people who are] involved on campus.”
Ojuri won Homecoming king in high school. He said the experience of knowing his peers believe in him is the same.
After graduating, Ojuri wants to work in tech sales, eventually becoming a vice president of sales for a Fortune 500 company. He said he also wants to eventually open a weight loss camp with childhood friends.
“I know what benefit weight loss camps have given me, and I want to give those benefits to others,” Ojuri said.
Jacob Stallard, College Mentors for Kids
Jacob Stallard didn’t have much competition for his spot as a nominee.
“There are very few male staffers in my group,” he said. “No one else was really looking to be the king candidate.”
Stallard, a senior elementary education major, said even though he thinks being crowned Homecoming king is a little silly, it would still be a cool experience.
“I try to be very intentional with the friendships I make, and winning would be an affirmation that in the past three years I’ve made an impact in people’s lives,” Stallard said.
When he graduates, he hopes to teach in the Indianapolis area. Stallard’s ideal grade would be third or fourth graders.
“They’re not quite middle schoolers but they’re starting to have their own personalities,” he said.
James Wells, Lambda Chi Alpha
Being nominated for Homecoming king has been a great honor for James Wells.
“It’s a great group of individuals from around campus,” he said.
The senior urban statesmanship major has never been involved in Homecoming as he is now, and can’t believe how far he’s come.
“I stayed away from this kind of stuff in high school,” Wells said. “I didn’t think I would come this far in college. Winning would be an awesome, unbelievable experience, but the journey has been incredible either way.”
After graduation, he would like to become a property manager or work as a traveling consultant for his fraternity.
“The organization has afforded me a lot of opportunities to grow as a man,” Wells said. “I want to help, serve and guide other chapters.”
The Homecoming Queen Candidates:
Samantha Johnson, Delta Zeta
Samantha Johnson, a junior telecommunications major, said she is very honored to be nominated for her sorority.
“I didn’t realize I truly made an impact on people,” she said. “It’s an honor to be the one girl nominated, and also to be in the top 10.”
Being Ball State’s Homecoming queen means a second crown for Johnson, who won in high school. However, the meaning is a bit different.
“Muncie and Ball State have been my home, will have been my home for four years,” Johnson said. “It would be a time to give back to the community that has done so much for me.”
Although she is still debating going to graduate school, ultimately she wants a career in sports broadcasting. For her, the ultimate goal is working at ESPN.
“I’m working hard now to make these goals happen,” Johnson said.
Dayna Arnett, Ball State Speech Team
For Dayna Arnett, a senior biochemistry major, being Homecoming royalty isn’t just exciting, it’s a miracle.
“I ran in high school and stood no chance in a school of 1,700 people,” Arnett said. “To be Homecoming royalty in a school of 22,000 people, it’s miraculous.”
After graduation, Arnett said she wants to go to medical school and become an obstetrician/gynecologist.
“I want to work with minority women, specifically those in a lower socioeconomic status, and help them get the health care they need,” she said. “Women’s health is a very important topic to me.”
Destinee Burrell, Alpha Phi Omega
Destinee Burrell has always wanted to participate in the homecoming Court, and is excited to have the chance her senior year.
She said she is honored to have a place in the top 20.
"This university has allowed me to have some many amazing opportunities and meet a lot of wonderful people. My experience here at Ball State has helped me evolve into a better leader and overall individual,” she said.
After she graduates, Burrell said she wants to attend law school in the Washington, D.C. or Chicago area.
“Becoming a lawyer is something I have aspired to be since I can remember,” she said. “I believe my purpose in life is to advocate for individuals that cannot advocate for themselves.”
Beth Endsley, Lambda Chi Alpha
Although she participates in Homecoming activities, Beth Endsley hasn’t been directly involved in Homecoming since her freshman year, when she worked on the parade subcommittee.
“I never expected to have this opportunity,” she said. “So far it’s been a lot of fun and the best part of my senior year.”
Endsley, a senior communications studies major, is the sweetheart for Lambda Chi Alpha, meaning she is the female representative who embodies the values of the fraternity.
After graduation, she said she plans on going to graduate school for higher education and student affairs. She would like to work in an admissions department or an office of student life at a university, either as an admissions counselor or director.
Paige Fransen, Alpha Omicron Pi
Paige Fransen, a senior public relations major, said she is honored to be nominated for Homecoming queen.
After graduting, she wants to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee.
“I have hopes of working as a public relations professional in the music industry,” Fransen said.
Missy Giammichele, Code Red
Code Red only nominates seniors and didn’t have a representative last year. That makes being the representative this year that much better for Missy Giammichele, a senior biology major.
“I’m excited and honored to represent Code Red on the Homecoming Court,” she said.
After graduating, she said she would like to be a biologist in a research and development lab, preferably in Indianapolis.
Jessica Love, Chi Omega
Jessica Love, a senior early childhood education major, said it’s been a wonderful opportunity to be nominated.
“It's been so fun and exciting and has made me fall in love with Ball State all over again, getting to experience this side of homecoming as a student,” she said.
Rather than focusing on winning, Love said just making it so far in the process is something she has been very grateful to have experienced.
After Ball State, Love plans to teach kindergarten somewhere in Tennessee.
Jessi MacNulty, Association of Collegiate A Cappella
Jessi MacNulty, a senior telecommunications major, is representing not only the Association of Collegiate A Cappella, but also Ladies’ Choice A Cappella. She said the experience of being on homecoming court is really exciting.
“The group of people is so accomplished and fun to be around,” MacNulty said.
During her time at Ball State, MacNulty has been involved as a campus tour guide, an orientation leader and coordinator and an intern for the Office of Admissions.
“Being crowned Homecoming queen would be like a culmination of my time at Ball State,” she said.
Although she loves Indiana, MacNulty plans on moving and attending graduate school. She said she wants to continue doing work in photography and digital design, but is interested in working in student affairs as a high school counselor.
Chanel McClay, University Programming Board
Chanel McClay, a junior nursing major, said she is excited to be nominated for Homecoming royalty, especially because the group is so diverse.
“In the past, the court hasn’t had lots of diversity,” McClay said. “This year it is, and I’m so honored to be in this diverse group of people.”
McClay has worked hard to get to this point.
“A lot of times it was nothing nice, nothing pretty; I didn’t have a lot of support,” McClay said. “Everything I have is from hard work and dedication.”
Her goals after graduation include working in the nursing field and getting her master’s degree. She would also like to begin a program that connects students and professionals.
“Students are often just thrown into work after graduation,” McClay said. “I want to start a program that will help them transition from always going to class to working a nine to five or 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.”
Imani Woodson, Black Student Association
Imani Woodson, a junior musical theater major, said she was surprised to be her organization’s nominee.
“The BSA has a lot of women who are very involved, well-known and good leaders,” she said. “I honestly didn’t think I’d make it this far.”
Her plans after graduation include moving to a large city, New York or Chicago preferably, and pursing a performance career. She said she also wants to teach choreography.
“I would gear [teaching] toward musicals and Broadway [style],” Woodson said. “It’s what I grew up in and have been studying since high school; it’s comfortable.”