Madison Orman, a junior Business Administration major at the University of Louisville, has recently been chosen as the 2016 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen. Orman started as one of five festival princesses who earn their spots through high scholastic achievements and dedication to service within the community. The crown itself is earned through a traditional spin of the wheel at the 58th annual Fillies Derby Ball.

“It was my lucky night,” she said.

Orman graduated from North Oldham High School in 2013. She is finishing up her junior year at UofL and pursuing a bachelor of science in business administration. Although she is a finance major, she will switch to marketing in the fall.

The selection for the Derby princesses began in January. The five princesses have had to attend weekly events leading up to the Derby, acting as ambassadors for Louisville and the Derby Festival. Requirements entail academic success (3.0 GPA or higher), knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus/community involvement. Each woman receives two $1,000 scholarships (one from the Fillies, Inc., and one from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation) and an official wardrobe.

During the Derby Festival, Orman has to attend more than 70 events throughout a two-week period. She said that although the events are a big commitment, they are also a huge opportunity. Through all of her involvement since January, she has secured a summer internship and has gained many business and community connections.

“That is a big bonus to all of the hard work,” she said.

UofLNews had the chance to talk to Orman about her community service efforts, the process of becoming the KDF Queen and what motivates her to be so involved.

UofLNews: What are some organizations or programs you’ve been involved in on campus?

Madison Orman: I am involved in many organizations on campus. Some of my favorites include serving as a Cardinal Host, a Resident Assistant, a shadow host, on College of Business student council, the Elevate Portland Initiative, in Delta Zeta Sorority, and as a member of the Student Orientation Staff.

UofLNews: What are some honors and awards you’ve received?

Madison Orman: Some awards/honors I’ve received include being a Trustee’s Scholar, on the Dean’s List for six consecutive semesters, an honors student, a Denny Crum Scholar, a PNC Memorial Foundation Scholar, and an Executive Women Alumni Board Scholar.

UofLNews: Why did you decide to pursue becoming the KDF Queen?

Madison Orman: I decided to participate in the Kentucky Derby Festival Princess program because it is a once in a lifetime experience. I grew up attending the festival events. I am incredibly passionate about this Commonwealth, and serving on the Royal Court is an opportunity truly unique to Kentucky. It has been so rewarding to act as an ambassador for the festival.

(Orman also said she is working to pay her way through college and the $2,000 scholarship that comes with the responsibilities of participating in the Derby Court helps).

UofLNews: What drives/motivates you to get involved and work hard? 

Madison Orman: From a young age, my parents instilled a strong work ethic in me, as well as a passion for civic service and giving back. I have six older sisters, so I also have a strong competitive spirit as the youngest of 7 daughters. I have an inner drive to achieve, as well as a desire to allow my character to shine through. I am incredibly grateful for programs like the KY Derby Festival Princess program which provide a culmination of hard-work, service to the community, and a whole lot of fun.

Sharon Handy, manager of marketing and communications at the University of Louisville College of Business, contributed to this story. 




Bria Staten-Favors
Bria Staten-Favors is the Graduate Assistant in the University of Louisville’s Office of Communications and Marketing. After completing her bachelor of science in Communication, she decided to pursue her master’s degree at UofL as well. She also works in the Partnership Division at the Louisville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and is an avid Cards fan.