Mister and Miss Lincoln compete April 11

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  • Category: Campus News

Update: The 2016-2017 Royal Court is: Mister and Miss Lincoln – Kendall Gilbert and Janaya Joyner, Mister and Miss Legacy – Dante` Wade and Leilani Rhodes, Mister and Miss Orange & Blue – Christopher Daches and Alyssia Sims.

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. – On Monday evening, standing center stage at the International Cultural Center, the 25th Mister Lincoln and the 43rd Miss Lincoln will be minted.

Hosted by the current titleholders, Santeá Ross-Hendrix and Imani Milliones-Roman, the competition will also mint Miss Orange and Blue, and Mister and Miss Legacy, who together with Mister and Miss Lincoln are called the Court of Royalty. Coronation will occur on the Sunday kickoff at homecoming.

Contestants for the 2016 competition are:

Mister Lincoln University
Christopher Daches, Nigeria via Cleveland, Tennessee, concentration: business management; secondary concentration: information technology
Kendall Gilbert, Somerset, New Jersey, concentration: mass communications, secondary concentration: visual arts
Dante` Wade, Newark, New Jersey, concentration: business management

Miss Lincoln University
Janaya Joyner, South Farmingdale, New York, concentration: English liberal arts
Leilani Rhodes, Elmont, New York, concentration: political science and Pan Africana studies, secondary concentration: black studies
Alyssia Sims, Blacksburg, Virginia, concentration: music performance

The competition, held annually during Spring Fling in April, will feature a group dance number and individual competitions in oratory, talent, question and answer, and formalwear. The event begins at 7 p.m. on April 11 at the International Cultural Center.

Deciding to compete

Competing for — let alone serving as — Mister and Miss Lincoln is a lengthy process and time-consuming responsibility. When students consider whether to compete for this title, their first stop is an interest meeting where they meet student life interim director Ihsan “Ziggy” Mujahid (pronounced ISS-san MOO-ja-heed).

“Some of them choose for the right reasons. They want to leave a legacy, make their mark. They want the leadership experience. Those are the right reasons. Some choose it for the flashiness, sometimes to prove other people wrong. But along the way, the people that choose it for those reasons learn what it’s really about.

Mujahid, who was Miss Lincoln in 2001-2002, has been working in an official capacity with Mister and Miss Lincoln since 2005. In addition to her other student life duties managing all student clubs, organizations and Greek and Social Fellowship life, she is responsible for arranging all travel, competition entries, and communication with students’ professors when they miss class as part of their duties.

Mujahid guides students through the entire process, literally holding their hands when needed. Mister Lincoln Santea’ Ross-Hendrix said forming a bond with Mujahid has been the most important aspect of his year as Mister Lincoln.

“She is the part that I hold most dear about this experience,” the Aricebo, Puerto Rico, native said. “She’s someone who can pour inspiration into me but smack some sense into me. That means a lot to me. Because she wants so much for me, in return I want to do my best.”

Applicants must be a full-time Lincoln student, with between 45 and 90 credit hours. They must be able to serve the following fall and spring semesters, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and obtain four letters of recommendation. Those requirements are just to be eligible, but there are many more considerations that sometimes make students think harder about whether they would excel in a competition of this nature.

They must have a ready talent to showcase in front of hundreds of people. They must prepare a portfolio with a biography, plans if crowned, and what types of activities they want to implement—often called their “platform.”

In 2015, Mujahid received five applications for each Mister and Miss Lincoln, and out of those only three men and three women can compete. In 2016, Mujahid received five Miss Lincoln and Mister Lincoln applications. From the applications, interviews are held and each position is narrowed to three contestants. It is these six individuals who serve as the Court of Royalty and Excellence, once their respective positions have been named from the competition.

Events and travel

The time commitment doesn’t end when the on-campus competition ends. Mister and Miss Lincoln attend several off-campus conferences and make public speaking appearances at convocation, open house, and admissions events.

The 2015 winners both travelled to the Student Leadership Institute of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals in Savannah, Georgia, in May and the Leadership for Queens and Kings Connection Conference held in July in New Orleans.

Miss Lincoln competed at the annual National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, in September, and Mister Lincoln competed at the Mr. HBCU Kings Leadership Conference and Competition in Jefferson City, Missouri, in February. Regardless of which person competes, Mister and Miss Lincoln always travel together.

Depending on the results of public, online voting, Miss Lincoln sometimes participates in Ebony magazine’s HBCU Campus Queens competition for the reigning queen of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  The ten with the most votes participate in a makeover and group photoshoot.


Students receive an annual stipend of up to $2,000, a single room in the Apartment Style Living residence hall, funds for their programming platform, and attire needed to complete their duties, provided funding is available.

However, the biggest incentive is not financial or physical rewards, it’s being a representative of Lincoln, which begins on the ICC stage the night of the competition and culminates when the candidates are re-introduced at the end of the competition and the winners are announced, a moment which Ross-Hendrix described as “exhilarating.”

“At that moment, I’ve felt the most love I’ve ever felt at this university.”

Perhaps the most iconic representation of the competition is the crown. While Mujahid keeps a pageant crown displayed on a high shelf in her office, it’s not the real crown. Mujahid purchases crown for both Mister and Miss Lincoln each year, which they get to keep along with their sash after their reign end. 

Mujahid chooses the crowns based on the style of the individual. The student is responsible for caring for the crown during their reign. Mister and Miss Lincoln don’t see their crowns until they are on stage at coronation in front of hundreds of audience members.

View the list of past winners.

By Shelley Mix, Office of Communications & Public Relations