Felts was first Homecoming queen in 1951

Bob Davidson (’52) prepares to lead three members of the 1951 Homecoming Court onto the football field at Fair Park: Ruth Heggie (’53), Addie Rheiner (’55) and Ginger Atkinson (’55).

Addie (Rheiner ’55) Felts was Abilene Christian University’s first Homecoming Queen in 1951 and the Coming-Home Queen in 1961, so there’s not a lot of other royal ground to conquer this weekend at her alma mater.

But she has been invited back to serve as grand marshal of Saturday morning’s parade, which pretty much tops off any personal bucket list an alumna might have for this annual weekend, unless she also wants to quarterback the football team or star in the Homecoming Musical. While she is town this weekend, Felts will attend the by-invitation-only Queen’s Tea on Friday and Homecoming Chapel at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

The Felts family has deep roots on the Hill. Addie’s late husband, Richard Felts (’53), was the manager of the World Famous Bean (previously known as Carter Cafeteria)  and affectionately referred to by students as “dean of the Bean” and “Uncle Dick.” Addie was ACU’s first women’s track and field coach when the Wildcats started that program in 1976 and she also was associate professor of health, physical education and recreation in what is now known as the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition.

All five of her children – Susan (Felts ’75) Hatcher, Sara (Felts ’77) Dubose, Ricky Felts (’80), Sherry (Felts ’81) Ratliff and Sharon (Felts ’92) Shipley – and 16 of her 20 grandchildren have attended ACU. Her 16th also is her namesake, Addie Jane Shipley, a freshman this fall.

As a busy and popular student, Addie was Freshman Favorite; a cheerleader; campus beauty; a member of the W Club, Campus Service Organization and A Cappella Chorus; and Miss ACC.

Today she is a mainstay of the Austin Avenue Church of Christ in Brownwood, and even at age 80, devotes Sunday afternoons to teaching classes for women inmates at the Brown County Jail, and Wednesday nights to cooking for Hope Class, which ministers to recent inmates and others in need.

ACU’s Homecoming Court for 2012 includes:

  • Becca Clay, speech pathology major from Salt Lake City, Utah, Zeta Rho president
  • Leigh Foith, Ad/PR major from Plano, Ko Jo Kai historian
  • Jocelyn Groves, biology major from Lubbock, Sigma Theta Chi member
  • Sarah Kelly, Ad/PR major from San Antonio, GATA president
  • Sarah Miller, accounting major from Irving, Sigma Theta Chi president
  • Bethany Morgan, Ad/PR major from Nocona, Alpha Kai Omega president
  • Erica Porter, kinesiology and health promotions major from Kerrville, Ko Jo Kai chaplain
  • Mary Shive, speech pathology major from Fort Worth, Ko Jo Kai vice president
  • Ali Wren, speech pathology major from Arlington, Ko Jo Kai president
  • Suzanne Zeller, family studies major from Abilene, Sigma Theta Chi member

ACU’s 2012 Coming-Home Court of 2002 graduates includes:

  • Sarah Coldwell of Dallas
  • Melanie (Kidd) Gibson of Sweetwater
  • April (Baker) Griswold of Grand Prairie
  • Brooke (Perkins) Hall of Farmers Branch
  • Tamara (Head) Hatch of Frisco
  • Jill (Henderson) Horton of Richardson
  • Heidi (Chitty) Houston of Sugar Land
  • Sara Kerens of New York, N.Y.
  • Cassy (Stout) Lawson of Plano
  • Katherine (Brown) Mach of Houston
  • Shacie Rogers of Dallas
  • Rachel (Lee) Wages of Abilene

And for the first time, there will be a male student recognized by a new light-hearted university-wide honor proposed and approved by the ACU Students’Association to recognize “an all-around good student who is involved in the ACU community,” according to a recent article in The Optimist. Four seniors are finalists; a King of Campus Court will be chosen Friday and participate in the Homecoming parade:

  • Clint Coulter, kinesiology and nutrition major from Celina, assistant director of McKinzie Hall
  • Prentis McCarty, criminal justice major from Houston, Big Purple Band color guard
  • Evan Hernandez, history major from San Antonio, Trojans member
  • Jonathan Pruitt, criminal justice and psychology major from Recife, Brazil, Trojans member

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