Payton Edberg crowned new Miss UABy Paige Henderson | 02/24/2015 10:10am
Seventeen women from the University of Alabama competed in the Miss UA pageant on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Anna Rae Gwarjanski
Payton Edberg, a sophomore majoring in public relations and marketing, was crowned as the 2015 Miss University of Alabama on Saturday evening. After competing in a physical fitness and swimsuit portion, a talent portion, an evening wear portion and answering an onstage question, Edberg was chosen by judges to represent the University as Miss UA.
Chandler Shields placed as fourth-runner up, Shelby Lynne Shaw placed as third-runner up, Allison Farris placed as second-runner up and Maggie Gehlsen placed as first-runner up. Edberg received first in the physical fitness and swimsuit portion and Farris received first in the talent portion. Avery Cooper received the CMN Champion Award for her fundraising efforts for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, and Meg McGuire received the Spirit of Alabama Leadership and Community Service award.
Cory Gordy, a first-year graduate student studying social work from Eufaula, Alabama, said he enjoys the diversity of pageants and the onstage question portion of the contest.
“I think pageants are for scholars who will represent the school really well,” he said.
Martha Grimes Cooper, UA alumna and former cheerleader who acted as a volunteer and hostess for the pageant, said she could not say enough about what an enormous undertaking it is to put on the pageant each year. She noted the volunteer work of the Phi Mu sorority on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network. Cooper is a longtime friend of the founder of the pageant, Walt James. James attended the University and started the pageant 41 years ago.
James said that the best thing he has seen come from the pageant is that the University has been so well -represented each year and that each winner receives a free year of tuition.
Edberg was visibly overjoyed as she accepted the crown and the responsibility to represent the University for the next year. She said she will never forget her talent performance onstage, because she felt it was the best she had ever performed the dance routine. Stemming from her experience of having asthma, Edberg’s platform will promote lung health.
“I’m really excited to spread my platform around the University of Alabama campus, and to go to the Miss Alabama pageant and represent our school,” she said.
The Miss Alabama pageant will take place June 3 through 6 and will be held at Samford University’s Wright Center in Homewood.