Purdue welcomes its first gender-neutral homecoming court

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Grant Wood and Lily Bishop pose after being named “Royalty” as part of Purdue’s first gender-neutral homecoming court during halftime of an NCAA college football game between Purdue and Boston College in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. The school eliminated the titles of king and queen and students cast two votes for “royalty”. | AP Photo

Purdue kicked off its 150th birthday celebration with a change to a traditional halftime ceremony.

Earlier this week, Purdue announced it would not crown a homecoming king and queen in a student-driven effort to bring more gender equality to campus. Purdue’s Spirit and Traditions committee implemented the change, marking the first gender-neutral homecoming court in university history. While the change was a first for the school, Purdue is not the first university to institute such changes to traditional homecoming weekend ceremonies.

Despite the changes to the ceremony, the only thing different about the halftime tradition was the label given to both recipients. A man, Grant Wood, and a woman. Lily Bishop, were crowned, although they weren’t called “king” and “queen,” respectively. Purdue instead called the male and female students who donned a crown “homecoming royalty.”

The Boilermakers beat No. 23 Boston College 30-13.

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