Eady, a 2010 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, was named 1st runner-up to Miss America in the 2011 Miss America Pageant televised live on Saturday, Jan. 15.

More than just a cowboy’s sweetheart, Alyse Eady demonstrated the poise, talent and beauty during this year’s Miss America competition that has made her Arkansas’ sweetheart.

Eady, a 2010 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, was named 1st runner-up to Miss America in the 2011 Miss America Pageant televised live on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Eady wowed the pageant crowd with her signature musical ventriloquist act, “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” During her live interview question, she addressed the issue of national health care reform. Her platform in the Miss Arkansas and Miss America pageants highlighted the issue of “Developing Leaders: Boys and Girls Clubs of America.”

After graduating from Ouachita last May with a double major in mass communications and speech communication, Eady was crowned Miss Arkansas 2010 last July. Prior to beginning her reign, Eady served as the fundraising and event coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She is the daughter of Lewis and Lady Eady of Fort Smith; her father is a former member of the Ouachita Board of Trustees.

“The Ouachita community and I as president could not be more proud of Alyse Eady,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “She is a committed, talented young woman whose beauty shines in every noble way.
 
“Becky and I watched the pageant with great pride and expectancy,” Dr. Horne added. “The poise with which Alyse performed is a credit to her family, her own work and, I think, the impact Ouachita has upon her life’s path. We congratulate Alyse as we do her parents, Lewis and Lady.”

Eady, 22, competed as Miss South Central Arkansas in the Miss Arkansas Pageant. In addition to being crowned Miss Arkansas 2010, she was named the Coleman Dairy Overall Talent Award winner. She also previously held the title of 2004 Miss Teen Arkansas. Eady was one of six contestants with Ouachita ties who competed in last year’s Miss Arkansas pageant.

“My platform, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, is something that I have lived my entire life, as has everyone in my whole family,” Eady said. She started attending the club’s activities at age 5, and through the years was a volunteer, an employee and an ambassador. Through the club she worked on a Turkish and American Air Force base, met President Bush and spoke before Congress.

“The Boys and Girls Clubs of America gave me the confidence to do what I’m doing now,” she said. “It has enabled me to sit here with the Miss Arkansas crown on my head.”

As Eady progressed in the Miss America competition from the field of 53 contestants to the top 15, 12, 10, five and 1st runner-up, Facebook and Twitter posts from her fans kept track of her achievements. Enthusiastic posts ranged from “What a great representative for Arkansas and OBU!” and “Woooooo! Let’s go, Alyse! So proud of you!” to “My vote is for the ventriloquist. If you can yodel without opening your mouth, you deserve a crown.”

During her years at Ouachita, Eady was named to the Dean’s List, performed as a Tiger Tunes Hostess and on the Miss OBU Court of Honor and spent a semester studying at the University of Alicante in Spain.

Reflecting on her four years at Ouachita, Eady said, “My Ouachita experience prepared me for life because this Christian-based organization and Christ-centered school really gave me the chance to devote myself to my studies, and also helped me grow in my Christian faith. That’s going to help me not just in the pageant world but in life and to just be a light and be a witness for people.”

Prior to Eady being named 1st runner-up, another Ouachita alumna was a Miss America finalist in 2005. Lacy Fleming Glover, a 2004 Ouachita graduate, was 3rd runner-up to Miss America that year. Glover held the titles of Miss OBU 2004 and Miss Arkansas 2004.