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A royal duo 50 years in the making

<p>Tre King (left) and Keresa Murray (right) are this year&#x27;s Love and Honor Cup recipients. </p>

Tre King (left) and Keresa Murray (right) are this year's Love and Honor Cup recipients.

Seniors Keresa Murray and Tre King were elected this year’s Love and Honor Cup winners, making history as Miami University’s first ever Black duo to win the award — exactly 50 years after Miami’s first Black homecoming queen was crowned.

The Love and Honor Cup, first presented in 2017, takes the place of a traditional homecoming king or queen and is awarded to the two students on Homecoming Court who receive the most votes after being nominated by faculty or other students. This year, all 16 nominated students were passed through the selection process and eligible to win.  

Keresa Murray

Murray, an education studies major with minors in film studies and social justice and inequality studies, was surprised to learn she was even nominated for Homecoming Court. She is currently working as a third-year Resident Assistant (RA) in Presidents Hall and later learned that a fellow RA had nominated her.

“I had no expectation or anything that I would actually win,” Murray said. “I was very, very surprised and shocked.”

Murray said her win is made even more exciting by the fact that she and King are making history together.

“I think it’s a lot more outside of me than it is for everyone else,” Murray said. “Like, having that representation means a lot … Even 50 years ago, having someone be the first, and for me to have that 50 years later — I just think … that representation is very important, and I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

In fact, Murray was at work on Saturday, Oct. 21, when the university’s Instagram livestream to announce the winners started, so she had to join late. She didn’t even realize she had missed the announcement until she was asked to join as a winner.

In addition to being an RA, Murray is also the president of the hammocking club and the public relations co-chair for the female empowerment group Love You Like A Sister (LYLAS). She’s played trumpet in the marching and pep bands and worked as a Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader (SOUL) in the summer of 2019.

After graduating next spring, Murray hopes to attend graduate school for a student affairs and higher education program. Her involvement at Miami in residence life, SOULs, Made@Miami and other programs has inspired her to pursue a career working for a university in the future. 

She wants to continue working with students and helping them adjust to college life, possibly in a department such as advising or admissions, although she’s not sure yet.

“That’s something that has become my passion,” Murray said. “And I felt so strongly [when working] with them … it made me feel something really great.”

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Tre King

King, a media and culture major with a co-major in arts management, came into his senior year with two major goals, one being to make it onto Homecoming Court. He was surprised — and extremely grateful — to hear his name announced as one of the Love & Honor Cup winners.

“When they first announced it, I was just anxious leading up to it, because I was like, ‘This is everything I’ve been manifesting, praying for, hoping to achieve in my senior year here at Miami,’” he said.

Like Murray, King is also a third-year RA, working in Hawks Landing. He is involved in Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) as a general member and is the marketing director for Miami Television News. In the past, he was an undergraduate assistant for MAC 143 and involved in the Black Student Action Association and Miami Gospel Singers. Like Murray, King worked as a SOUL in the summer of 2019.

After learning he and Murray were making history as the first Black duo to win the award, King realized this achievement had become even bigger than himself.

“It was amazing knowing that Keresa and I — as well as the people that voted for us — set this precedent, because it’s not just about us, it’s about the minorities here at Miami [and] the students in general as a whole,” King said. “Knowing that, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement [and] how important that has been … that our names will forever be attached to this phenomenon and this precedent … I think that is something I will always carry with me.”

In the future, King wants to go into the media/entertainment field, potentially as a film director or producer. But first, he has to finish out his final year at Miami, which involves applying to graduate school — the other major goal on his list.

He remains proud that he and Murray were able to make history in their final year and continue to lead Miami toward more diversity and inclusion, just as Debora Jackson did 50 years ago when she was crowned queen.

“I knew that that aligned together,” he said. “I was like, ‘This is all just coming [together] making a full circle — the stars are definitely aligning.’”