Granddaughter of Luverne native crowned AU Homecoming Queen

Published 9:20 am Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kate Hardman poses with Aubie during Homecoming celebrations.

Kate Hardman poses with Aubie during Homecoming celebrations.

When Mildred Thomas learned that her granddaughter would soon be heading to Auburn University for college, she never dreamed that one day she would see her granddaughter be crowned Homecoming Queen 2016 for Auburn University.

“I was just so humbled and honored to have a granddaughter be crowned queen. It was quite an honor. It was just so wonderful,” Thomas said.

“She is such a sweet person and loves God so much; you can really tell it, and she loves missions. When she gets her Spring Break, she always goes on a mission trip. Her parents and her other grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Hardman, and I are so proud of her.”

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Kate Hardman, now a senior nursing student at AU, recently had the opportunity to stand on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium and be crowned the 2016 Homecoming Queen. Hardman, a Birmingham native, may not have direct roots in Luverne, but she still holds fond memories of visiting her grandmother in The Friendliest City.

“I am from Birmingham, but my mom grew up in Luverne. So we visit often because my nanny, Mildred Thomas, still lives there,” Hardman said.

“Luverne holds so many sweet memories from Thanksgivings and Christmases spent there with our entire family. Every memory filled with delicious food, laughter and sweet stories.”

After deciding on AU for its nursing program, Hardman set off to pursue her dream of being a pediatric oncology or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse.

“I chose Auburn because of the atmosphere and because of the nursing program. Growing up, I knew I wanted to attend a university that would refine and mold me through the community it provided,” she said.

“Auburn allowed for an atmosphere full of people willing to walk along side me in life and mold me into a better version of myself.”

During her time at Auburn, Hardman has had the opportunity to be involved in many different facets of campus, such as Student Government Association (SGA), Freshman Leadership Programs, her social sorority, campus ministry and nursing school’s council. Currently she is mostly involved in the Chi Omega sorority, where she serves as the philanthropy chair along with school’s council and campus crusades.

After being crowned queen, Hardman says she was “completely blown away with thankfulness” and had never imagined she would have this chance in her senior year.

“It was amazing to me how much of the Lord I saw in every single step of this process, so the only thing I knew to do was thank Him and know that none of it was from my doing,” she said.

“Hearing my name called on that field was the product of many people’s hard work and the Lord’s sweet promise to me, and all His children, that He sees us and knows us. As Miss Homecoming, I now get the opportunity to represent our campus and the platform I stood by all week. Make A Wish Alabama is an organization very dear to my heart, so my goal of this new title is to raise funds and awareness while representing the University well.”

This experience is one Hardman will always cherish, and now she plans to use the lessons learned from it to help those around her. She continues to play a large role in her sorority, and she continues to act as a advocate for their chosen philanthropy.

“Through this opportunity I was able to meet so many new people and gain many friendships that I will cherish forever. I learned how to lean on the Lord in every moment,” she said.

“When I began to grow tired or bogged down, I knew where my strength lied and I was reminded the purpose behind the whole process. I respect so much is something that I will carry with me. Homecoming week allows five women to share something they are passionate about with the campus, be apart of a long-standing tradition and represent women leadership on campus. This is experience is one I will always cherish and remember.”