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University of Missouri

A Night to Remember

The first and last formal Homecoming queen coronation at MU.

1949 Homecoming queen coronation at Mizzou

The only formal Homecoming queen coronation was held in 1949 at Brewer Fieldhouse. From left, the finalists: Barbara Frese Vasse, BS Ed ’52; Jo Ann Ferguson Krohn, A&S ’51; Sarah “Sally” Robinson Dougherty, BS Ed ’51; Carol Harris Jones, BS Ed ’51; and Joanne Ruddy Vinyard, BS Ed ’52.

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Tony Kassab had always loved Mizzou’s Homecoming festivities. A member of Sigma Nu, he participated in the interfraternity song competitions at Brewer Fieldhouse. During the week, he tried to stick to his studies, but on the weekends, he’d drive his 1934 roadster convertible into the circle drive at the Pi Phi sorority house, and girls would hop in for a ride in the rumble seat.

In 1949, Kassab, BA ’50, was named chair of the Queen Committee of the Student Government Association. Tradition was that the Homecoming queen was announced on the football field during halftime of the football game.

1949 Homecoming queen hopefuls at Mizzou

The 1949 Homecoming queen, chosen from a field of 57 women, was crowned at a ceremony at Brewer Fieldhouse.

I thought we should make it into an event to give more emphasis to the queen and to give the student body a chance to view the queen and her attendants,” Kassab recalls. “And it just got grander and grander in my mind.”

What resulted was the first formal coronation ceremony of the Homecoming queen at MU. Held at Brewer Fieldhouse Oct. 26, 1949, the coronation event included a performance by the University Men’s Glee Club and the University Symphony, and musical numbers by Fredna Parker Cressler, BA ’50, and Larry Bartram, BJ ’52. The queen was crowned on a special set constructed for the event, which included six 16-foot replicas of the Columns.

1949 Homecoming queen candidates at Mizzou

In years prior, the Homecoming queen was crowned at the halftime ceremony at the football game. Tony Kassab thought it didn’t allow most of the students to see the queen and her attendants.

The event was such a success that University President Frederick Middlebush sent Kassab a letter congratulating him and his committee on the celebration.

He also received a note from Thelma Mills, the director of student affairs for women.

It is my hope that this will become an annual occurrence and done with the high quality of the presentation, which you have shown in 1949–50,” Mills wrote. “The contest from beginning to end has met with approval of campus groups, and I think you are personally to be congratulated.”

Kassab, who lives in Joplin, Mo., and works as the president of Mizzou Realty/Range 33 Realty Co., remembers the event as the highlight of his years at Mizzou.

It was very gratifying to me that it drew the attention of the top members of the faculty.”

1949 Homecoming queen coronation at Mizzou

Following the successful coronation ceremony, President Frederick Middlebush sent Kassab a letter congratulating him and his committee on the celebration.