At the end of halftime during the annual Homecoming football game on Oct. 1, Jacob Drake and Emily Hatterman heard their names announced as the 2022 Homecoming King and Queen.
“All of a sudden you’re standing next to Chancellor Ronnie Green and Jane Green taking a picture, and I just had a wave of so many emotions,” said Drake, political science major.
Jump back to the beginning of freshman year: both Drake and Hatterman came to college after being highly involved high school students and wanted to step back from being as active.
Neither of the two kept to their plan.
“It felt natural for me to be involved in everything, and so I started finding things that I really enjoyed and was passionate about, '' said Hatterman, a senior agricultural and environmental science communication major.
She joined Gamma Phi Beta freshman year and is an active member in NHRI Leadership Mentoring. Outside of university organizations, Hatterman has sat on the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council for the last three years.
“I ended up running into a friend of a friend who was working with the student body president freshman year. Emily Johnson encouraged me to apply for ASUN… and I fell in love with the organization,” Drake said. “I found my place on campus that way.”
Drake is a well-known name on campus due to his role as the Association of Students at the University of Nebraska’s president, student regent for the university on the Board of Regents and a member of Alpha Kappa Psi.
Hatterman and Drake applied for court, went through interviews and made it to the top 20 candidates.
“I think to be in the top 20 is just like an incredible honor…it’s just really validating that I’ve pushed myself throughout my college experience and just really tried my best,” Hatterman said.
Not only did Hatterman want to represent all the different organizations and people that have been with her during her college experience, but she has a familial connection to Homecoming because her biggest mentor, role model and aunt won Homecoming Queen in 1996, she said. Her family has attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for generations and their love for the school continues on with Hatterman.
“I knew that it could make my family really proud and especially my grandparents. I knew they would get a kick out of being able to experience that twice,” Hatterman said.
Once on the final court, members spend the days prior taking press photos and attending events such as Monday Night Live, the Chancellor’s tailgate, various brunches, the Cornstalk Festival and more.
“It’s a whirlwind, a lot of places for pictures and people just trying to get information from you whether it be press releases or just showing you office representatives at the university,” Drake said.
The night before the Homecoming game all 20 court members were shown off in vintage cars during the parade. Each couple sat in the back waving to students, alumni and future Huskers.
Both recounted their nerves the previous night leading into right before walking on the field.
“It was a very cinematic feel and I was like I don’t know if I can do it,” Hatterman said. “I was so nervous and just how many people were there and I knew there’s gonna be nothing else happening.”
From Drake’s point of view, being in front of thousands of Nebraska fans was terrifying.
“You’re standing there and you turn to look around the stadium and everyone is looking directly at us,” Drake said.
They both heard their names and didn’t initially process that it was announced they had won. It was a blur. Hatterman remembers telling Chancellor Green and his wife “Thank you” over-and-over again, and once the initial shock dissolved, both were still processing that they had won.
The duo was honored to have been chosen by the majority of the student body as the 2022 winners, they said.
Drake said winning reassures him that his leadership matters to the students of Lincoln. For Hatterman, the achievement was the outcome of leaving a positive impact on the people she has formed relationships with.
“I think it’s a reflection of the relationships that I formed throughout college and how I prioritized having good connections with people across the university,” Drake said.
Next year, the two will return to Memorial Stadium and celebrate the 2023 Homecoming King and Queen.