Indiana Daily Student

New lecture series honors Ryan White

Ryan White, the Indiana teen who became the poster child for HIV/AIDS after contracting the virus at the age of 13, was unable to attend IU before he died 25 years ago.

Because of a donation of $100,000 from professor William L. Yarber, White’s legacy will live on at IU through a lecture series in his honor.

“It’s important for us to honor and recognize Ryan White for what he did to enlighten the world about the HIV/AIDS problem,” Yarber said.

The lecture series is through the School of Public Heath and will be named the Ryan White & William L. Yarber Lecture Series, according to an IU press release.

Yarber said he met White before he passed away and has a connection with White’s mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, as she works as a special assistant at the School of Public Health’s Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention where Yarber is the senior director.

“I’m so thrilled that my son Ryan’s wish to educate about HIV/AIDS and his dedication to showing compassion and understanding to all lives on through this legacy dedicated in his name,” White-Ginder said in the release.

The speakers for this series will be people who have made great contributions to fighting HIV/AIDS and national leaders who have worked to promote treatment and advocacy, Yarber said.

“This generous support of this lecture series will allow us to invite nationally and internationally renowned speakers to IU to present on the topics of HIV/AIDS, STIs and sexual health,” said Mohammad Torabi, dean and chancellor’s professor at the School of Public Heath, in a release.

Each speaker will also receive the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award, Yarber said.

The Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention will also be a sponsor for the lecture series, according to the release.

Yarber said in the release he thought the time was especially right for the series given the 25th anniversary of White’s passing and the recent outbreaks of HIV in Indiana due to sharing HIV-carrying needles.

“It is my hope that this lecture series will honor Ryan’s wishes for us all to promote the power and value of knowledge and to show compassion toward those infected with HIV/AIDS,” Yarber said in the release.

For the School of Public Health, Torabi said this is a big step for the school to advance its efforts researching, educating and supporting those with HIV/AIDS.

The first lecture will be in 2016, Yarber said.

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