While his family consists of big-time fans of Louisiana State University, Homecoming King Hayden Foil has found a new home at Mississippi State University.
"Going through these past four years, I consider this to be my home now and not my hometown, which is really hard to say," Foil said.
While growing up on the Gulf Coast in Gautier, Mississippi, he spent weekends attending games at LSU.
"I started to feel, when I was coming into my junior or senior year of high school, that LSU was not my home for college," Foil said.
Foil is a senior majoring in animal and dairy science. When applying to college, he looked for programs specific to the field and found Mississippi State during his senior year.
"I came to an academic insight then, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I fell in love the people here. Everyone was so kind," Foil said.
At MSU, Foil has served as a staff counselor for New Maroon Camp, a Maroon VIP tour guide and selections committee member, a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ambassador, and a member of the Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity.
He said he felt led to run for Homecoming King after watching his friend run for a homecoming position last semester.
Before this fall, Foil had never applied for an executive position and preferred being a team player. He said he was inspired and influenced to run by his friend and others who felt he best represented the university.
"Going through that experience and watching her being able to serve through her service project and learning through that, I was just really interested in that," Foil said.
Foil chose to focus on the Oktibbeha County Humane Society for his campaign service project.
"I've actually volunteered here a few times, and most shelters all around are already overrun and in the middle of a lot of maintenance and such. Since that shelter is already near and dear to my heart, why not further that and raise money for that?" Foil said.
He raised over $520 for the shelter through his campaign.
After homecoming season, Foil said he planned to host a bigger fundraiser for OCHS to help fund the shelter and get pets adopted.
Foil said he wanted to give back to the community and university because of the opportunities he has received in Starkville.
"Why not try to give back and represent them for this? I just couldn't explain how much this university has given me a blessing in my life," Foil said.
Casey Malone, an admissions counselor for campus visits, said Foil has worked in her office for a couple of years.
"He's a trip. He’s a lot of fun to work with," Malone said.
Taylor Lile, a senior majoring in social work, met Foil during her sophomore year at Pinelake Church.
"We really just crossed paths for a little bit until we started hanging out. We just kind of clicked because we're both goofy and funny and carefree," Lile said.
Lile described Foil as extremely loving and caring.
Malone said she felt Foil embodied the hospitable spirit that a Homecoming King should represent.
"Everybody can find your home here, and Homecoming King should reflect that kind of every-man mentality. I think Hayden definitely exemplifies that," Malone said.
According to Malone, Foil has thrown himself into what it means to be a MSU Bulldog.
Lile said a homecoming king should represent MSU through boldness. She said her friend’s passion made him a good fit for the role.
"Well, I'm proud to say that like he is our homecoming king and that he will be standing on the field in just a week," Lile said.
Along with being bold, Lile said Foil was very humble.
"It’s awesome that like he will get to say that he was homecoming king, but that was just not the reason why he like went out for this," Lile said. "It's that he is a good leader and people listened to him, and he was able to humbly say that like he loves Mississippi State."