Campus News

March 1, 2010

Campaign Emory

Pride awards equal positive impact

At the Emory Pride Awards reception at the Miller-Ward Alumni House on March 2, Bassel Rabah ’11C will receive the GALA Leadership Award from Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA), an interest group of the Emory Alumni Association, and the Office of LGBT Life.

A political science major, Rabah earned the $2,500 scholarship for his demonstrated leadership to positively impact the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities at Emory.

Also at the awards reception, Scot Seitz ’09C will be honored with the Chesnut LGBT Person of the Year Award from the President’s Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity, and Queer Equality, and Steven Dry ’10C will be named the winner of the Studies in Sexualities Essay Contest Award.

All members of the Emory community are invited to attend the event, which begins with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. A dessert reception will follow the program, which will feature AHANA, Emory’s multicultural a capella group, and presentations by several 2010 LGBT graduates about their Emory experiences. Also, LGBT alumni and 2010 graduates will be awarded lavender diplomas.

LGBT leadership award reaches endowment status
GALA co-chair Sharon Semmens ’80C-’80G, a member of the Emory Alumni Board, is the principal architect and fund-raiser for the Student Leadership Award fund, which was endowed last year with $100,000 in private donations. Semmens set an additional goal of raising $50,000 before using the interest from the endowment to fund the scholarship. The first GALA scholarship, awarded in 2009 to Olivia Wise ’10C was funded with additional cash donations rather than endowment interest.

Emory alumni and friends have now surpassed that goal, raising nearly $50,500 in cash and more than $125,000 in cash and pledges. GALA’s new fundraising goal is to expand the scholarship program to support two students, Semmens says.

“GALA is thrilled to announce that its Student Leadership Award fund has achieved endowed status,” Semmens says. “GALA created the Leadership Award to recognize established and emerging LGBTQ student leadership exercised on behalf of the queer community at Emory, and to provide meaningful financial support.”

An engaged student leader
Although he transferred from Georgia Highland College only recently, award recipient Rabah was quick to take a leadership role at Emory, says Michael Shutt, assistant dean and director of the Office of LGBT Life.

“He jumped into any and all situations to meet students, faculty and staff,” Shutt says.

Among Rabah’s activities, he attended the LGBT student “Dinner with 12 Strangers,” attended the first Emory Pride meeting of the year, helped plan a benefit drag show that raised 130 percent more than the previous year’s show, and was accepted for membership on the President’s Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity, and Queer Equality, Shutt says.

There is no cost for the event, but attendees should register (404.727.0272).

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