Mr. and Miss Bowie State University Crowned at Coronation
By Anthea Dennis
Bowie State University kicked off the 2011-2012 Homecoming Week festivities with the coronation of Mr. and Miss Bowie State University on Sept. 11 in the Samuel L. Myers Auditorium in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Communications Arts Center.
With the theme “The Beginning of an Unfinished Story,” the BSU family crowned Michelle McCleary as Miss Bowie State University and Matthew Riley III as Mr. Bowie State University before a packed auditorium.When the doors opened at 4:15 p.m., faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni flooded the auditorium.
Kings and queens from other HBCUs such as Mr. and Miss Delaware State and Mr. and Miss Howard University were present as well. Former kings and queens of Bowie State dating back to 2002-2003 through the present were also in attendance.
President Burnim, Mrs. Burnim and members of the president’s cabinet attended the evening. Dr. Artie Travis, vice president of student affairs; Anne Valentine, acting assistant director of Student Life; Jamin Gallman, president of the Student Government Association; Rhonetta Brooks, vice president of the Student Government Association, and Cynthia Jackson, president of the Bowie State University National Alumni Association welcomed all who came out for the occasion. They greeted the audience and had a moment of silence in remembrance of the lives that were lost in the tragedy of 9/11.
“We wish you all the best as you serve these important roles,” Jackson said, turning her attention to Mr. and Miss Bowie State. “We give you all of our love and all of our support.”
McCleary and Riley came out and greeted the audience and introduced themselves followed by a segment from student Avery Pearsall as a prelude the portion of the ceremony, “Celebrating Our Past.” It included a dance performance by Shaneace Virgil, a powerful performance titled, “I Am Africa’s Child” performed by Riley and McCleary, and a musical performance followed by tributes to Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Shirell Bynum concluded this portion of the ceremony singing “Wade In De Water.”
The next segment, “Honoring Our Present,” included an informational segment by Pearsall and Anna Philyaw. Julian Walker-Rodwell and Desireè Sealey, Mr. and Miss Black and Gold 2011-2012 along with Joshua Spivey and Baseemah Muhammad, Mr. and Miss Essence 2011-2012, stood in the aisles of the auditorium and spoke directly to the audience during their spoken word performance, “We Speak Your Names.”
Riley and McCleary presented Dr. Shirelle Briscoe, a professor in the Department of Communications, and Robert Batten, coordinator for international students, with trophies as a token of their appreciation for their support of BSU students. Briscoe received the Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Award and Batten received the Frederick Douglass Humanitarian Award.
Virgil performed another dance in honor of 9/11 proceeded by dynamic pieces from the class kings and queens and musical performances. The last portion of the ceremony was the final walk of Ameer-Hassan Walton and Ayana Harlee, Mr. and Miss Bowie State University 2010-2011.
And then the moment the crowd had been waiting for: the formal introduction of campus kings and queens followed by the entrance and crowning of Miss Bowie State and Mr. Bowie State 2011-2012. McCleary and Riley graced the stage with such pageantry. The crowd stood to its feet and roared its approval, prompting Riley to tear up.
“Thank you for spending the greatest moments of our lives with us,” Riley said.
“We’d like to thank the entire student body,” added McCleary.