The first official class of women entered Xavier in the fall of 1969. Nurre came a year later. By the fall of 1973, it was decided Xavier finally had enough women students that it didn’t need to choose its queen from the women of Edgecliff College or the College of Mount St. Joseph. It would crown one of its own. Nurre, a public relations major, couldn’t resist competing for Homecoming Queen.
“They asked who wants to do that and up pops my hand,” she says. “We had to vote on it. The top 10 were voted down to the top five. Then on Homecoming day in October, they paraded us onto the field and we drew roses. I happened to get the yellow rose.”
There is a picture of Nurre holding a bouquet of roses in the 1974 Musketeer yearbook. “I’m in a three-piece wool suit I made. There was no crown. We drove one lap around the field in a convertible and waved. That was it.”
In the grainy black and white photo, Nurre is standing next to the Homecoming King. The hem of her neatly sewn wool suit is about two inches above her knees. The men are in loud plaid bell-bottom pants. Their hair is long and shaggy. So daring. So 1970s.
Nurre enjoyed the moment but left it all behind when she graduated and went into public relations for Federated Department Stores. She’s now a sales and marketing consultant in Houston and volunteers for environmental causes. And she still swims as a member of the U.S. Masters Swimming program.
She keeps a copy of the yearbook to remind her of her special day. It includes a page about the University’s decision to end football and focus on basketball. Looking back, it seems a pretty wise decision, both for Xavier and for Nurre, as it locked into history her legacy as Xavier’s first, last and only Homecoming Queen.