It's a title that humbled her and brought her to tears.
Then, at halftime on October 13, Pearson walked out onto the football field, escorted by her father in his U.S. Navy uniform. She was resplendent in a tradition-mandated white gown and a sparkling tiara.
It was a moment that was unimaginable 50 years ago.
The spotlight was on Pearson but she thanked her fellow students.
"Don't applaud me," she said. "Applaud them. Look at how progressive they are."