June 20, 2011
A U of M student narrowly missed being crowned Miss USA last night, finishing as
first runner-up to Miss California. Ashley Elizabeth Durham, a senior journalism major, competed as Miss Tennessee USA.
Erin Hatley was crowned Miss Tennessee.
Also over the weekend, another U of M student was crowned Miss Tennessee and will
compete in the Miss America pageant in January. Erin Hatley, a senior majoring in
hospitality and resort management, is a classmate and sorority sister of Durham’s
in Alpha Gamma Delta.
“Not only is this a tremendous honor for these two young women, but it is priceless
advertising for the university,” said Linda Bonnin, associate vice president for marketing
and communications at the U of M.
Several times during last night’s nationally televised pageant on NBC it was mentioned
that Durham is a student at the University of Memphis. She also gave a huge “Go Tigers” shout out during live questioning from the judges
While final numbers are not in yet, the Miss USA pageant is traditionally viewed by
millions of people.
“We congratulate these two beautiful young women who are such outstanding representatives
of our university and our state,” said Bonnin.
U of M student Ashley Elizabeth Durham competed as Miss Tennessee USA
in the Miss USA pageant last night.
Durham, who is from Adamsville, TN, was also Miss Teen Tennessee USA in 2006.
Hatley competed in the statewide competition as Miss Collierville and won the talent
While the U of M has never had a Miss USA before, two students have been crowned Miss
America: Barbara Jo Walker Hummel (BS ’48) in 1947 and Kellye Cash in 1987. Claire
Ford (BA '81) was also crowned Miss Black America in 1977.