Miss. – Months of preparation paid off for University of Mississippi
senior Brooke Beard when she was crowned Miss University 2009 Wednesday
evening at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
“I’m a bit
overwhelmed but completely excited,” Beard said. “The fact that I can
represent the university my senior year is a dream come true.” Besides
winning the crown, Beard received $2,000 in scholarships.
nutrition and dietetics major from Madison, Beard is the daughter of
William L. Beard and Madeline Beard. She is a student in the Sally
McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a member of Delta Gamma, Order
of Omega and Mortar Board.
Throughout her reign as Miss University, Beard will be promoting the Children’s Miracle Network as her platform.
Miracle Network is an organization of hospitals across the nation that
serves children regardless of their ability to pay,” she said. “I chose
it because I have been volunteering at Blair Batson Hospital in Jackson
for the past six years, so after volunteering there for that amount of
time, it just felt natural to select that as my platform.”
Pageant competition is not new to Beard. “I’ve been in Miss Mississippi for the past two years, representing both my hometown and my home city,” she said. “So I’m very excited about the opportunity to be able to represent my university this year.”
In the Miss University pageant, Beard competed with seven other contestants in the categories of swimsuit, interview, talent and evening gown. She won the interview competition and tied in the evening gown event.
Crystal Flores, a sophomore communicative sciences and disorders major from Brandon, won first alternate to Miss University and received $1,000 in scholarship money. She won the talent competition and tied in the swimwear and evening gown rounds. She is the daughter of Ruben and Wyndy Flores.
Ashley Forester, a sophomore psychology and theatre major from Holly Springs, was chosen as second alternate and received $500 in scholarship money. She is the daughter of John and Judy Forester.
This is the first year the pageant has given a “Fan Favorite” award. Audience members were given the opportunity to text the name of their favorite contestant on their cell phones. That award went Jasmine Carter, a junior biochemistry major from Jackson.
Jennifer Taylor, campus programming director, will be working with Beard during her reign and quest for the Miss Mississippi crown. The pageant is scheduled for July 18 in Vicksburg.
“The Miss University program is something that I feel very passionately about,” Taylor said. “It’s a very special relationship that I’ve been able to form with each Miss University, because you do spend so much time together and so much time in preparation for the Miss Mississippi pageant.
“As far as I’m concerned, all the hard work begins now until we leave for the Miss Mississippi pageant. Miss University and I will work hand in hand in doing anything and everything to prepare for the competition.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be able to represent my university in this manner and this capacity,” Beard said. “It means more to me to be able to be Miss University than anyone could every dream.”