Campus & Community

Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus announces Respect Award recipient

2 min read

The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus (HGLC) announced that Kevin Jennings ’85 will receive the HGLC Respect Award. It will be presented to Jennings at the caucus’ annual Commencement Day dinner, this year to be held in Lowell House on June 7. In the evening’s keynote speech, best-selling author Andrew Tobias ’68, M.B.A. ’72 will address the timely issue of politics, money, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students are a highly vulnerable population,” says Tom Parry A.B. ’74, president of the caucus. “We are honoring Kevin Jennings for his compassion and leadership, especially embodied in his founding of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, that has fostered the creation of thousands of gay-straight alliances at secondary schools across the country.”

Jennings is renowned for his work in creating safe schools for LGBT students. In 1988 at Concord Academy, Jennings helped establish the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance for students and became a well-known spokesperson and writer on LGBT issues in schools. In 1990, he founded GLSEN, bringing together teachers, parents, and community members to end anti-LGBT bias in K-12 schools. As the head of the then all-volunteer group in Boston, Jennings led GLSEN in its successful effort to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation.

Keynote speaker Tobias wears many hats. He’s written three New York Times best sellers and is also a business journalist, prolific columnist, tenacious anti-smoking and insurance reform advocate, and TV host. He’s been treasurer of the Democratic National Committee for the past eight years.

The caucus also sponsors reunion events for LGBT alumni/ae (details are available in class reunion registration materials), including a symposium on the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender & Sexuality, the College’s new home for LGBT studies, which will feature faculty, staff, and student concentrators. The symposium will be held in the Lowell House Junior Common Room from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Commencement Day.

The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus is composed of more than 4,300 LGBT Harvard and Radcliffe alumni/ae, faculty, staff, and students. The HGLC was formed in 1984 with the aim of organizing, serving, and defending the Harvard LGBT community.