Story by Kelsey Grapperhaus, Staff writer
The Delta Omega chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi hosted their 35th annual Mr. MSU pageant at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in Lovett Auditorium, which was held during Murray State’s Family Weekend and had an attendance of close to 1,000 people. Dexter Alexander II, senior from Memphis, Tennessee, won the overall competition, along with crowd appeal and most congeniality.
The Mr. MSU 2015 pageant’s theme was King of the Jungle and the event showcased 16 men sponsored by a variety of different student organizations across campus.
Director of Mr. MSU and philanthropic chair for AOPi Jamie Nuckolls said that when she assumed her position, some of her goals were to reach a greater number of student organizations that haven’t been reached in the past to gain attendance and heighten advertising. She also said she aimed to have contestants participating that exemplify all of the aspects in which a “Mr. MSU” would have.
The nominating process was changed in order to accomplish Nuckolls’ goals.
During the selection process, each organization could nominate as many men as they wanted, free of cost, who excelled in and out of the classroom.
Involvement in student organizations, philanthropic work, GPA, a preliminary interview and other resume materials were taken into consideration when condensing the 33 nominees down to the 16 contestants that participated in the event.
The sponsors of those 16 contestants then had to pay a $55 admission fee for each of their contestants that made it into the top 16.
“I believe that this selection process has turned out to be successful,” Nuckolls said. “Each and every one of the 16 contestants that participated are great representations for Murray State, their sponsoring organization and, my organization, Alpha Omicron Pi.”
The top 16 contestants had completed an essay and completed a second interview on Friday before the actual show Friday night. Once they reached the stage, aspects that came into play for the judging included: overall stage presence, talent, and formal wear.
Crowned at the end of the event, the title of Mr. MSU 2015 was given to Dexter Alexander II.
Winners of all eight awards included:
- Winner: Dexter Alexander II
- First Runner Up: Kevin Brost
- Second Runner Up: Clint Combs
- Third Runner Up: Kendrick Settler
- Fourth Runner Up: Jason Esau
- Crowd Appeal: Dexter Alexander II
- Most Congeniality: Dexter Alexander II
- Best Legs: Kendrick Settler
Dexter said he put most of his time into preparing for his talent after he thought “long and hard over the summer” about what he really wanted to do to make himself stand out.
“I knew that stepping was something I am good at and that I can dance occasionally,” Alexander said. “So I decided to blend the two and what better dance tribute than to Justin Timberlake. Everyone loves JT is what came to my mind.”
He said not knowing what to expect out of the judges and finding that the most challenging part of the event was the interview process, Dexter said he went into the interview with his “personality and an open mind.”
“The essay and opening dance came too easy to me because I do very well when showing my personality,” he said. “It was easy for me to adapt and be myself around a lot of other guys who where in the pageant and who had personalities like mine.”
Alexander said that participating in Mr. MSU has been one of the greatest experiences of his life. He said the event forced him to step out of his comfort zone and allow him the opportunity to be apart of something traditional and big on campus.
“The Mr. MSU pageant has helped me create a bond and brotherhood with contestants like Justin Frazier, Michael Mann, Alex Hopewell, Nathan Payne and Kevin Brost,” he said. “The ladies of AOPi Delta Omega Chapter spent many nights the week of the pageant helping us to get ready for the big event, which we appreciated dearly.”
A question everyone continuously asks Alexander is, “How does it feel to be crowned Mr. MSU?”
He said it is easily one of the most exciting and humbling experiences he’s been able to participate in because “any one of the other 15 contestants deserves to be crowned king, too.”
“In my book, all of us who where on that stage competing are kings because we are looked at on campus by our peers as men on campus who are standing out and making a big difference in the Racer family and community,” he said. “When I heard my named called as the winner of Mr. MSU 2015 my life flashed from all the hard work I have put in.”
His hard work doesn’t just include his long hours he’s dedicated to Mr. MSU, though. After transferring to Murray State his sophomore year, he made a personal goal to impact others lives and to allow himself the chance to have as many opportunities as possible.
“I just really want everyone to realize that people really do pay attention to your growth and stand behind you if you believe in yourself,” Alexander said. “More than anything I am honored to be Mr. MSU 2015 and even more proud to be apart of the Racer family.”
Although AOPi is still in the process of counting all of the funds raised in 2015, in previous years the sorority has raised over $10,000 toward Arthritis Research and the Arthritis Foundation, their main philanthropy.