UofL students Brittany (BeeBee) Patillo, far right, and Mary Baker, second from the right, are two of the five women selected to serve as princesses in the 2019 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court. 
UofL students Brittany (BeeBee) Patillo, far right, and Mary Baker, second from the right, are two of the five women selected to serve as princesses in the 2019 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court. Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Festival.

UofL students Mary Baker and Brittany (BeeBee) Patillo are two of the five women selected to serve as princesses in the 2019 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court. 

Baker, a 20-year-old junior from Louisville, is majoring in Economics and Finance. She is on the raiseRED executive board, a finance intern at GE Appliances, and community service director of Chi Omega sorority. Baker also volunteers at Gilda’s Club of Louisville, and taught English for a summer in Peru. 

Patillo, a 22-year-old senior from Louisville, majors in Theatre Arts. She is a Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship recipient, a member of the African American Theatre Program, and has been named to the Dean’s List for five consecutive semesters. Patillo is a youth coordinator and advisor for several area churches, as well as a dance instructor for the LaNita Rocknettes School of Dance.

The court also includes Bellarmine student Elizabeth Seewer, University of Kentucky student Allison Spears, and Centre College student Kelsey Sutton. The students will act as ambassadors for the 2019 Kentucky Derby Festival, attending nearly 70 events over a two-week period.

One of the five will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 6 at the Louisville Marriot Downtown. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).

Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The first Derby Festival Princess was crowned in 1957, the second year of the Festival. 

The Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the festival. Fillies president Debra Rayman joined KDF president and CEO Mike Berry and 2019 Derby Festival Chair Marita Willis in crowning the court last week. 

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Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is editor of UofLNews and UofL Today. She joined UofL in 2015 as communications director of the Brandeis School of Law. Prior, she was the editorial director of foodservice media for Networld Media Group, where her work was featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine. She continues to serve as a contributor for many publications, including QSRweb.com, FastCasual.com and Innovation Leader.