Pride Awards honor LGBT community influencers

The Milt Quilt
The Milt Quilt

Grand Valley’s Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center hosted the Pride Awards March 30 to celebrate and honor those who made a positive impact on the LGBT community this academic year. 

Seven faculty and staff members and three students were honored. The fourth annual event took place in the Kirkhof Center and featured student performances, including spoken poetry and singing.

“We have a few staple awards that are always given,” said Carrie Simmons, program coordinator for the center, “like the Milt Ford LGBT Leadership Award and the LGBT Faculty/Staff Association PRISM Award. However, we do change up a lot of the awards given each year to fit the people we want to honor.” 

Award recipients: 

-- Milton E. Ford Leadership Award: Jessica Jennrich, director of the Women's Center 

-- Service to Community Award: Gary Van Harn, assistant for the Padnos International Center; Monica Johnstone, director of communications and advancement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

-- LGBT Faculty/Staff Association PRISM Award: Neal Rogness, professor of statistics

-- Outstanding Student Leader Award: Andrew Collier, Samm Martin and Alex Vail

-- Solidarity Award: Alli Montaie, assistant director of the Women’s Center; Takeelia Garrett, student ombuds

-- Faculty Engagement Award: Cáel Keegan, assistant professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies/liberal studies

At the event, Johnstone presented the Milt Quilt to the center. She said the quilt was made by hand by many allies, some of whom had never sewed quilt pieces together before. The project was inspired by Ford’s "dance floor model" of the intersectionality of the LGBT community. 

“Milt had a vision for helping people understand complexity without being afraid of it,” Johnstone said. “His model was wiggly and hand-drawn with colored pencils, and it frustrated him that it was only two-dimensional. I hope he’d like that we brought it into a third dimension in his honor.”


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