Augustana Vikings chose seniors Layne Symington and Audrey Cope as homecoming king and queen at Monday night’s coronation ceremony in the Elmen Center.
Symington and Cope were selected from a royalty court of 10 Augustana seniors: Mason Blue, Jack Talcott, Cole Tessendorf, Hunter Lipinski, Hannah DeWild, Hailey Nold, Katie Orton and Claire Eiswirth.
Symington, majoring in German, all grades education and international studies, said he was “surprised and overwhelmed with emotions of shock, thankfulness and overall joy” when he found out he had been crowned homecoming king.
“To be chosen as Augustana’s kingmeans the world to me,” Symington said. “I love Augustana and to be chosen as homecoming king left me speechless at first. Viking Days has such a deep, rich history, and to be a part of that, even to be on the court, makes me so grateful. So, thank you to everyone.”
Cope, a government and international affairs and French double major, said she felt honored, grateful and excited when she heard her name called for homecoming queen.
“I feel fortunate to be surrounded and supported by the people in the Augie community,” Cope said. “I have been lucky enough to witness students follow their passions and lead tangible change in the Augustana community and beyond. So I am honored to represent the people here, to say the least.”
Both Symington and Cope said they are excited for the rest of the week’s homecoming events, especially Friday night’s lip sync battle.
Coronation and the Viking Feast held before the ceremony were adapted this year in light of the pandemic. Rather than dine in the Elmen Center, students enjoyed the feast outdoors on the Campus Green.
At the coronation ceremony, students and family of the royalty court sat in chairs spaced six feet apart, rather than clustered at tables and on the bleachers. The event had limited seating, so the Viking Days Committee livestreamed proceedings on Facebook and Instagram. According to Viking Days Co-Chair Grace Feterl, around 140 students attended the in-person ceremony, 70 people watched on Facebook Live and approximately 30 watched from Instagram.
“We decided to still have coronation because we felt as though it was a tradition that students would be expecting and looking forward to,” Feterl said. “With everything changing this year, our goal was to incorporate elements of new with the traditions that everyone is attached to during Viking Days.”
At the coronation ceremony, President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin recognized the Viking Days Committee for its hard work and welcomed students and family. Herseth Sandlin said that Viking Days this year is a “historic homecoming” as the events are changing because of COVID-19.
“At a time when we celebrate who we are as Augustana Vikings […] these values have sustained us, maybe never more than now,” Herseth Sandlin said.
The 2019 homecoming king and queen, Logan Hattervig and Kirtana Krishna Kumar were recognized at the ceremony, as well. Hattervig spoke about the royal court’s achievements, listing places around campus each could be found at. Krishna Kumar said she came to understand that being chosen as last year’s queen meant being a leader on campus and setting a good example for the student body.
“I want you to foster friendships based not on similarities, but on differences,” Krishna Kumar said to the royalty court.
The Augustana Choir performed while masked, first singing the Norwegian national anthem and later leading the audience in Augustana’s alma mater to close the coronation ceremony.