October 01, 2013 2:30PM
In 1958, Judith (Roberts) Ball watched with glee as her roommate was named Pittsburg State University Homecoming Queen.
“When they called the name Mary Jane Haizlip as the winner, I was overcome with excitement,” Ball said. “We were roommates and the best of friends, and it meant a lot to me to see her win.”
A year later, that excitement was sent to new heights when Ball was named the 1959 Homecoming Queen.
“Because she had won the year before, Mary Jane was the one to crown me,” Ball said. “That was even more special, because now we both shared this great honor. To top it off, I wore the same formal gown Mary Jane had worn the year before.”
As Pittsburg State looks forward to crowning the 2013 Homecoming King and Queen on Wednesday, Ball and more than 20 other past winners look forward to returning to the campus and the community to take part in this year’s festivities.
Past royalty will ride in the homecoming parade through downtown Saturday morning and will be honored at halftime of the homecoming football game, which starts at 2 p.m.
“With this year marking the 110th anniversary of the university’s creation, we thought it would be fitting to invite back past kings and queens to take part in this year’s homecoming celebration,” said Will Rhodes, chairman of the homecoming steering committee.
Rhodes said approximately 25 past kings and queens have committed to returning to the community this weekend, including the university’s first Homecoming King, Mac Braun.
“When I was named Homecoming King in 1994, it was the first time the university had crowned a king and a queen,” Braun said. “It was a very interesting time because we were all trying just to figure it out. It was exciting.”
Braun, who now lives in Des Moines, Iowa, said he is excited to return to Pitt State for Homecoming 2013.
“I love Pitt State, and I have ever since I stepped foot on campus,” he said. “It means a lot to be invited back to take part in homecoming, and I’m quite anxious to see the campus and catch some great football.”
Ball, who will likely be the earliest homecoming queen on campus this year, said she is “counting down the minutes” before hitting the road to Pittsburg from her home in Adrian, Mo.
“Oh, I am so excited to come back that I’ve invited some friends to join me so they can see the campus,” she said. “I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I received the invitation. Pittsburg State is a lovely place to be, and I can’t wait to come back.”
Full list of homecoming activities