IU GLBT Alumni Association Launches Scholarship Program

The IU Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association (GLBTAA) today launched the nation’s first-ever scholarship campaign devoted to assisting GLBT students and promoting leadership on GLBT concerns.  Bolstered by an anonymous $500,000 challenge gift, the campaign kicked off with more than $200,000 in cash and pledges.

“We are very proud to be a university known for welcoming and supporting GLBT students,” said IU Executive Vice President and IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel.  “This scholarship campaign will help us recruit and educate future leaders.  Our GLBT Alumni Association has truly led the way in demonstrating how an alumni group can carry forward a legacy of community support, and it has been wonderful and moving to see how many alumni and friends have already stepped forward to get this campaign off the ground.”
The campaign aims to significantly increase support for both academic and emergency scholarships, which the GLBTAA has funded since 2005 through donations from alumni and friends.  Full- or part-time students enrolled at any IU campus may apply for the academic scholarships, which are awarded based on academics, career goals, financial need, leadership, and community service.  Additional consideration is given for involvement in activities promoting diversity or raising awareness of GLBT and related issues.  Emergency scholarships are for undergraduate students who have lost the financial support of their families after disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The campaign also includes a $50,000 commitment to the GLBT Student Support Services Office.

“The generosity of the anonymous donor and of those who have contributed will enable students to have the needed resources to stay in school and focus on their scholarly pursuits rather than how to make ends meet,” said James C. Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equality and multicultural affairs and dean of the University Graduate School. “Even more, this effort reinforces the fact that Indiana University is inclusive and values the diversity of its students.  I’m proud to be part of this wonderful nurturing environment.”

Established in 1997, the GLBTAA is an active and vibrant alumni organization with more than 1,500 members nationwide. GLBTAA’s core mission is to improve the quality of life for GLBT students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Indiana University on all eight campuses.

“The GLBTAA is especially proud of our scholarship program, which helps both academically strong students and students who tragically have been financially disowned by their families,” said Mike Shumate, GLBTAA president and IU Foundation Board director.  “During recent years, we have experienced a significant increase in scholarship applications.  We launched this campaign to increase the total number of scholarships and, eventually, award amounts,” said Shumate.  “Ultimately, we hope to create an endowment that will assist deserving students and promote diversity and leadership well into the future.”

Indiana University is a leader among American colleges and universities for its policies, programs, and practices toward GLBT students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  For the past three years, IU Bloomington has received the highest five star rating from Campus Pride, and in 2012 was ranked by the same organization as one of the nation’s top 25 GLBT-friendly campuses.  Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer, more GLBT-friendly colleges and universities.

“This community is a guiding force for change in the equal rights movement and I would not be the same person I am today had I not come to IU,” said Matthew Bloom, a sophomore who was awarded a GLBTAA academic scholarship.  “The scholarship is a great way for me to help my parents pay for my education.”

For more information on the campaign, please see the IU GLBTAA website here: http://www.indiana.edu/~glbtaa.

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