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May 7, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

SRU LGBTI commission presents five awards

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa - Karen Whitney, Clarion University president, was among five individuals or organizations honored by the Slippery Rock University President’s Commission on LGBTI Issues during its third annual “A Night OUT” celebrating the group’s activities and accomplishments.

Whitney, who also served at the evening’s keynote speaker, is the first known “out” president within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She was presented a “Breaking the Silence Award” for her leadership and courage as an out university president and higher education administrator.

The commission also presented her with a $100 contribution to be made in her name to the Clarion University Allies, CU’s LGBT student organization. A “Breaking the Silence Award” was also presented to PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of Butler for its work to support the LGBT community.

The “Student Leadership Award” was presented to the SRU Chapter of the NAACP for its support of the commission and RockOUT.

Kristopher Hawkins, a sophomore music-therapy major, was awarded the LGBTQI Student Scholarship in recognition of his efforts in addressing issues facing the LGBTQI community.

A special award was presented to Gay DeMarsh, administrative assistant in the Diversity and Inclusion Office, for her professional and personal support of the LGBT community. DeMarsh is retiring in June after 22 years of service to SRU.

Graduates were presented a rainbow-colored tassel as part of a Lavender Graduation Ceremony.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.