FC Honor Student Selected as 500 Festival Princess
Campus News

Morgan Nelson

With a passion for community service and a desire to form lifelong friendships, senior Morgan Nelson, a biomedical sciences major, applied to be a part of the 500 Festival Princess Program. She was officially selected to be in the program this past February.

“Elaina Connell, one of my friends and sorority sisters, told me about her amazing experience with the princess program, and those stories cemented my decision to apply,” said Nelson.

The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, recognizes Indiana’s most community-oriented and academically accomplished young women. Hundreds of young women compete for a spot in the program but only 33 are selected. The criteria to participate in the program includes great communication skills, strong academic performance, community involvement and commitment to service and leadership. Once selected, Princesses serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns and their colleges/universities during the months leading up to the race.

“In April, I hosted an outreach event at Girls Inc. This event sought to teach young girls about how cool STEM can be,” said Nelson. “Two other princesses drove from Indianapolis to help me lead the girls in an experiment, and their willingness to help touched my heart.”

Nelson also stated this experience has made her feel more connected to her grandfather who passed away in 2021.

“My papaw was a big fan of everything car-related, including the race. Being a 500 Festival Princess has helped me feel close to him.”

Each 500 Festival Princess benefits through this program by receiving a $1,000 scholarship to assist with educational expenses, leadership development opportunities, access to networking events and 500 Festival branded apparel.

“The networking opportunities are amazing. I’ve been introduced to physicians, hospital CEOs, and PAs. As someone pursuing a career in healthcare, that kind of networking is an amazing opportunity.”

From among the Princesses, the 500 Festival Queen will be selected and announced during Breakfast at the Brickyard on May 18, the week of the race. Racing fans, business leaders and Indiana mayors will attend the event. Unfortunately, Nelson will not be in attendance. Instead, she will be accepting her diploma with honors from Franklin College on the same morning.

Nelson is the daughter of Steve and Patrisha Nelson of Marion. She graduated from Oak Hill High School. While at Franklin she has been a member of Phi Beta Phi Sorority, the Neuroscience Club, Student Entertainment Board and the Women’s Golf Team. She has earned academic distinction each semester during her college career.

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.


By: Alona Gilpin ’24, Pulliam Fellow

POSTED May 2, 2024