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The Weber State University Alumni Association has chosen Nick DeYoung and Tessa Diamond as Homecoming Royalty, and Dean and Kathy Hughes as the Emeriti Alumni Homecoming Royalty, after WSU’s 12-year hiatus from the tradition.
DeYoung, president of the Alumni Association, said he was surprised and still isn’t used to people calling him “king.”
“I didn’t know I had even been nominated,” he said. “I feel very honored. I never, in a million years, would have expected this.”
Diamond, vice president of leadership in the WSU Student Association, seemed just as surprised as DeYoung.
“I was pretty stoked,” she said. “I don’t know why they picked me. I was really surprised.”
DeYoung and Diamond will hold an essential role throughout Homecoming Week. They will participate in many of the events, be honored at the WSU Salutes ceremony, and walk the football field during halftime at the Homecoming Game.
Nancy Collinwood, director of the Lindquist Alumni Center, and Melissa Leonard, program coordinator for Alumni Relations, were the driving force in bringing royalty back to the WSU student body.
“We haven’t had royalty for the student body since 2002,” Collinwood said. “The student royalty was always housed over in the Student Involvement and Leadership. We thought this would be a great home for student alumni to be recognized.”
Every year, the Alumni Association honors alumni at WSU Salutes. This year, Diamond, DeYoung and the Hughes will be honored along with other Alumni Association members.
“They are such great examples, and that is what royalty is about,” Collinwood said. “It’s not a beauty pageant, it’s not a Miss America pageant, it’s not a popularity contest; it’s truly based on the greatness of these students.”
The candidates for royalty are nominated and elected through the Alumni Association. They take into account GPA, level of service, involvement on campus and in the community. And, according to Collinwood, “we looked at how they bleed purple!”
In addition to all of the activities the royalty participates in, they receive special recognition from Ogden City.
“Friday will be declared Tessa Diamond and Nick DeYoung Day by Ogden City,” Leonard said.
Dean and Kathy Hughes Day will be declared on Thursday.
The royalty choice also reflects the demographics of WSU. Diamond is a nontraditional student who represents a huge population of WSU. She is married, keeps up with everything academically and is still involved with WSU. DeYoung represents the traditional student working his way through school.
“They are a great ambassador for the alumni,” Collinwood said, “and a way for the students to see that they can be involved and participate in alumni events even as an undergraduate.”
The Hughes are alumni of WSU and were college sweethearts. Dean graduated in creative writing and has an extensive career as an author. He has published 100 books and is working on his 101st. He said WSU provided him with a solid basis for graduate school.
Dean said he was very surprised when he heard he was to be the Homecoming king.
“We are going to be involved the whole week,” he said. “They invited us to come to the game.”
Kathy graduated from WSU in English education and has worked in that profession for 30 years. She was called into the Relief Society General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2002.
The Hughes will attend many events during Homecoming Week, including the halftime walk on the football field.
Kathy said she was honored to be chosen and had some advice for Diamond and DeYoung.
“I hope that they are good citizens of the university in terms of enjoying the experience they are having,” she said. “I hope that they would be cognitive enough to represent the university well in the things they are asked to do.”
DeYoung said he is proud to be a Wildcat and the Homecoming king, and Diamond echoed his sentiments.
“I couldn’t be any more excited to represent Weber as the Homecoming queen,” she said. “It is such an honor to be chosen from such an amazing student body. I love Weber and bleed purple through and through! Go, Wildcats!”