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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

community events

Reception sets mood for Pride weekend


Standing ovation after standing ovation marked the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni Association kick-off reception Friday.

Even though attendance was lower than expected due to weather, the group still had record-breaking attendance.

Attendees filled the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center with the sound of cheerful reunions.

Prominent faculty members attended the event, including Dean of Students Harold
“Pete” Goldsmith, new Maurer School of Law Dean Austen Parrish and Chancellor Emeritus Ken Gros Louis.

“The GLBT community is an exceptional part of the IU community,” Goldsmith said. “I wanted to be a part of this and show my support tonight.”

The night began with hor d’oeuvres and mingling before the recognition of the GLBTAA’s Distinguished Alumni awards.

Two distinguished alumni were recognized for their hard work and service to improve the lives of GLBT community members.

The first award went to Kim Davis, a 15-year volunteer at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services office and seven-year member of the GLBTAA board.

Davis is also part of the GLBT Speakers Bureau.

She said she plans to continue her service by supporting Freedom Indiana in the fight against H.J.R. 3 and by living as a lesbian.

“I love to answer questions for people who just don’t know, and honestly to let them see a gay person in real life,” Davis said. “I try to be as out as I can be in the community.”

Davis is 63 years old and has been with her partner for 18 years.

People need to see that commitment to dispel the myths they have about gay people, she said.

Bill Shipman was recognized for his work in diversity.

He is founder and chair of the Commission on Multicultural Understanding, and co-chair of three IU incident teams.

Shipman told two stories during his acceptance speech that he said serve as inspiration for his activism.  

He told of hearing Martin Luther King Jr. speak at Grinnell College as an undergraduate, and of a therapist who he said pushed him back into the closet for many years.

Both of these experiences drove him to fight for social justice for all, he said.

“After that, I wanted to do anything I could to help our students deal with the terror of being gay,” Shipman said. “At the same time, I wanted to continue my work to fight against racism and other forms of oppression.”

The evening also celebrated the new University-sanctioned scholarship campaign.
GLBTAA president Mike Shumate announced that $629,187 was raised during the past four months.

These funds will go to providing scholarships for GLBTAA people, which has provided 28 academic scholarships and 11 emergency scholarships so far.

The room erupted in cheers and applause.

“We’ve coined the phrase that you’ve all heard,” Shumate said. “Our students don’t have to decide between living their lives openly and honestly and an IU education.”

Follow reporter Suzanne Grossman on Twitter @suzannepaige6.

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