Taking Pride in Students

Gay and lesbian alumni group creates award to help LGBT student leaders

Carl Kroeger received the GALA Leadership Award for 2013.
Dan Gaken

When he arrived at Emory from his small central Texas hometown of Thorndale, Carl Kroeger 15C did his best to blend into the background.

Through friends and mentors, he became involved in the university’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Life. There he found the courage to step up and make a difference for other Emory students. “I was incredibly shy. My involvement has definitely helped me open up and feel more comfortable,” Kroeger says. “It was a safe space to talk about whatever I needed to without feeling self-conscious.”

Kroeger was honored with the 2013 GALA Leadership Award. Presented by the Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA) group, the award honors a student’s leadership efforts to advocate for LGBT rights within the Emory community. It comes with a stipend based on financial need.

With the encouragement of Michael Shutt, assistant dean for Campus Life and director of the Office of LGBT Life, Kroeger ran for an office with Emory Pride, the undergraduate LGBT and ally organization, and was selected to serve as secretary.

Kroeger served on the Emory Pride community service subcommittee and coordinated Emory undergraduate students’ involvement with the Names Project, which brings the AIDS Memorial Quilt to campus each year with sponsorship from GALA. Kroeger’s dedication to service inspired Emory Pride to donate a percentage of the proceeds from its annual drag show to the Emory Student Hardship Fund. “I support the hardship fund because I have gone through hardships in my life and this is something that is prevalent, especially in the LGBT community. It is important to me to work for something that benefits students and our community,” he says.

A gift from the father of an Emory graduate allowed GALA and the Office of LGBT Life to present the first GALA award in 2009. The award was endowed in 2010 with more than $100,000 in private donations. The Office of LGBT Life is dedicated to increasing the endowment to $200,000, which will provide funding for two $2,500 awards annually, and the fund continues to grow as alumni, parents, and friends support the effort. Previous recipients of the award include Olivia Wise 10C, Bassel Rabah 11C, Conrad Honicker 14C, and Dohyun Ahn 14C.

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