Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Oct. 13, 2022
Duquesne students, alumni, faculty and football fans witnessed the crowning of Eric Swain Jr. and Emmala Le as king and queen during halftime of the football team’s annual homecoming game on Saturday afternoon.
Swain represented the Black Student Union, while Le represented both the Asian Student Association and the Filipino American Student Association.
Each year, members of the court are chosen based on campus-organization involvement and resume achievements. Although dozens of nominations were made this year, only 12 students — six females and six males — were selected to walk down the 45-yard line as part of the homecoming court.
The seniors nominated for queen were Le, Veronica Philipson, Taylor Hopkins, Mackenzie Pifko, Olivia Price and Brianna DeKlever. These women represented many different student organizations, including the Duquesne Student Nurses’ Association, Strong Women Strong Girls and Kappa Delta Epsilon.
On the other side, king nominees included Swain, Brentaro Yamane, Zachary Mansberry, Cody Trusik, Wade Brogno and Domenic Nascimben. These men represented organizations like The Duke, The Duquesne Program Council and The Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
Going down the field in pairs, each dressed-up court member — except for Nascimben, whom Student Government Association President Ethan Delp filled in for — was announced over Rooney Field’s loudspeakers.
Once the introduction was finished and each nominee’s university accomplishments were recognized, the court then lined up for the anticipated announcement. From there, Duquesne President Ken Gormley placed crowns on Swain and Le, while his wife Laura presented Le with a bouquet.
Both winners, Swain and Le, were honored and shocked to have won this year.
Le said she was grateful to have won after also winning homecoming queen during her senior year of high school. When Le told her family members about the honor, she said that they couldn’t believe that she had a “two-peat.”
Being involved in high school as the president of her Spanish club, while also holding a position in the school’s honor society allowed her to love being involved in school organizations. Le said that she wants to get involved as much as she can outside of the classroom and on campus.
“I was really involved in high school among a different crowd,” Le said. “And I wanted to continue that here.”
She says that after receiving this honor, she’ll continue to try and make an impact at Duquesne.
“I feel like what I’m doing now is basically the reason I got this honor, because of who I am and how I represent myself on campus,” Le said. “I think just continuing that, like I’m not going to stop being who I am, and I’m not going to stop participating and [showing] that Duquesne pride.”
In addition to the homecoming court being involved on campus, there were a large number of students who participated in the voting for homecoming king and queen this year, a number that has risen from the past year.
Ashley Kane, Duquesne’s coordinator of disability services and student involvement, informed Le that there were double the number of voters. Le said that Kane was “super excited” for the homecoming festivities and the increased student participation.
Le was unanimously nominated by both organizations that she represented to be on the homecoming court.
Although her family was unable to attend the festivities, Le was able to celebrate surrounded by friends. She said they were “very, very happy” for her.
For Swain, his family came all the way from Atlanta to help celebrate with him. Swain said that he was fortunate to get recognition, both in Pittsburgh and back home.
“I’m very happy, very humbled,” Swain said. “It’s good to have my family in the stands and actually celebrate with them, especially [with them] coming all the way from Georgia.”
For Swain, this honor meant that he can continue to help his communities and get to know more people on campus. He said he hopes to engage with as many people as he can following this award.
“I think I would really impact more of the people of color, specifically Black men on campus, who may want to pursue bigger roles or more involvement on campus,” Swain said. “Even though you may not know the area, I think getting to know people, talking with others and the kind of engagement where you can get to know people can definitely make an impact.”
As the BSU’s vice president of community engagement, Swain has been doing just that.
Swain and Le want to return next year to crown the next homecoming king and queen. Swain said he’ll try his best to make the trip back to see familiar faces.
“I would love to come back next year, especially because I love Duquesne. It’s been my home for the past four years,” Swain said. “I think it’s always good to be on campus and see the faces I’ve seen throughout those years.”
Le said she’d want to come back to visit all the friends she’s made throughout her time here.
“It’s only a three-and-a-half-hour drive [from Mount Joy, Pa.], but my friends are still here,” Le said. “So I will definitely be willing to make the trip to crown the next queen.”