On Saturday afternoon, February 18, 2023, the Lions, Camera, Action, slate of homecoming festivities at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith concluded in the crowning of students Jesse Witt and Shae Gilbertson as 2023 Homecoming King and Queen.
Jesse is a senior Computer Science major from Magazine. The son of Mike and Laura Witt, he represented Sigma Nu Fraternity. Shae is a senior Business Administration major with concentrations in Marketing and Economics from Pea Ridge. She is the daughter of Lance and Melissa Gilbertson, and represented Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and Sigma Nu Fraternity.
“I love the way UAFS feels like a whole community. I came from a small town, and that community feel is why I decided to come to UAFS.” Shae said. “I was severely shy when I started school,” she said. Surrounded by sorority sisters screaming her name, friends and family crowding to give her flowers, she grinned and added, “I was able to get involved here. And now I’m doing all this, in the middle of everything, representing my sorority.”
Jesse too was thrilled to represent UAFS Greek Life as homecoming king. “I’m happy to represent Sigma Nu, and show people that here we’re more than a stereotypical fraternity. We really do care about UAFS and the Fort Smith community, and it makes me really happy to be able to show that.”
2022 Homecoming King and Queen Bao Ha, originally of Binh Duong, Vietnam and Reagan Heppner, originally of Elkins, both of whom graduated from UAFS in 2022, returned to campus to announce the winners during a jubilant presentation at halftime of the Men’s Basketball game.
UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley and husband Dr Ricardo Maestas joined the festivities, offering the Homecoming court and all participants their sincere congratulations and presenting the newly-named King and Queen with their crowns, sashes, a scepter and a bouquet of blue roses.
The winners were selected from a homecoming court of eight students. Members of each court had the four highest scores of a combined student vote and interview scored by university faculty and staff.
The three additional students elected to Homecoming Queen court include Chloe McConnell, a Media Communication major from Bentonville representing Delta Gamma Sorority; Jamie Mathews a Business Administration Major with concentration in International Business from Sasebo, Japan representing the Culture Cliques; and Colby Creech, a Biology with Life Science Teacher Licensure from Pea Ridge representing Alpha Omicron Pi.
The three additional students elected to Homecoming King court were: Dominic Mai, a Computer Science major from Fort Smith representing the Culture Cliques; Brock Slater, an Electrical Engineering Technology major from Fort Smith representing Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, and Brock Thrash, a Graphic Design major from Fort Smith representing Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
In addition to Homecoming King and Queen, awards were presented to top performing registered student organizations, 22 of which participated in competitions including a food drive, dance off, and tailgate.
Earning the first place overall were the Culture Cliques, made up of numerous cultural organizations on campus, and a fraternity and sorority life power team of Gamma Phi Beta and Sigma Nu. In second place was another Greek life duo, Delta Gamma and Kappa Sigma, and in third place were Alpha Omicron Pi and Pi Kappa Phi and the Campus Activities Board.