On some campuses, it's a tradition that dates back over 100 years. On others, it's a glorified popularity contest. But, no matter what the local perception may be, there is a great sense of pride in being named Homecoming King on a college campus. Much of that honor likely comes from the fact that it isn't award that is sought out, but rather an honor bestowed on those whose actions throughout their college career have resonated with a large number of their peers.
"Becoming Homecoming King was something that I had never thought about before," said Austin Hook Valparaiso '08, recently named Homecoming King at the northwest Indiana university. "Winning is a great honor and is something that I will remember forever. It felt great to know that I had the support of my brothers and other members of the students, faculty and staff to vote for me."
Austin Hook with two Queen candidates of the Valparaiso Homecoming Court
Beyond the value of the award to the individual, the residual effects of being named Homecoming King can have tremendous value to his organization. While the average student may not understand the importance of such an honor, when you are representing a larger group, the payoff is significantly greater.
"Seeing an organization that participates in the campus and wins in different events, such as Homecoming King, can inspire an individual to want to be a part of that organization," Hook added.
John Rigby Iowa '08 was named Homecoming King of the Hawkeyes, and feels the same way. "I hope that my winning will have a great impact on Iowa Alpha. I hope to use this as a model of what men of the Greek community can accomplish when they study hard, stay involved, and give back to their communities."
On other campuses, winning becomes a habit, and something that chapters will work diligently to continue. It may be just the title for one individual, but the success of one reflects positively on the image of the whole. Continually succeeding is a PR boost. Just ask the men of Illinois Eta at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. A member of that chapter has been named Homecoming King for five straight years!
"Winning this award strongly impacts Phi Psi here on our campus," said Zac Sandefer SIUE '08, who was Homecoming King in 2009, prior to his twin brother, Brad '08, earning the same honor this year. "With my twin brother now winning in 2010, Illinois Eta has consecutively won for half a decade! We, along with many students on the campus, currently see Phi Psi winning Homecoming King as a tradition."
Whatever the realized benefits, having so many Phi Psi brothers recognized on campuses around the country speaks to the quality of men and chapters we work to build. Whatever the criteria, something is being done right where a young Phi Psi stands out in a crowd, a quality that will continue to benefit the individual, and the Fraternity, for years to come.
Congratulations to all 2010 Homecoming Kings from Phi Kappa Psi
Dan Caldwell Bowling Green '09
Austin Hook Valparaiso '08
John Rigby Iowa '08
Brad Sandefer SIUE '08
Joe Wadlington Butler '08
Tony Vaccaro (Muskingum Colony member)
[If there is another Homecoming King from Phi Kappa Psi that is not on this list, please let us know]
The Homecoming King dynasty of Illinois Eta, from left to right: Brandon Rardin (SIUE '06), Zac Sandefer (SIUE '08), and Brad Sandefer (SIUE '08)