Key individuals and collectives throughout history have paved the way for future generations to continue to advance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, and Ally (LGBTQA) support and inititiatives. The formal push for an administrative support center at Pace began in 2009 with the creation of the LGBTQA University Wide Task Force. The group, starting with only 6 members, now boasts more than 85 student, staff, faculty and alumni members.
The push for a center can be described as none other than a grassroots movement to change the hearts and minds of all involved. You may view a video From the Ground Up, about the building of an LGBTQA Center.
Former Center Director, and Pace Alumni, Kelly Herbert, began assembling the LGBTQA Task Force in 2009. All key retention and enrollment centers on campus were asked to join. Active collaboration with the Dean for Students, Counseling Center, Philanthropy, Alumni Relations, University Relations, Affirmative Action, Admissions, Women and Gender Studies, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, Career Services, the Office of Student Success and the Grant department has strengthened our efforts. The inclusion and respect of student organizations took our administrative efforts and gave them heart, presence and relevance.
Marijo O'Grady, the Dean for Students made our work a priority and secured a space for the Center at 41 Park Row. This action allowed us to begin the work of building a center as a unified community. The first LGBTQA & Social JUstice Center was located at 41 Park Row on the 9th floor in room 901. However in 2016 the Center was gifted a big, beautiful lounge space by Dean Marijo and SDACA. The Task Force even recorded their first official phone call: First Phone Call to Pace's LGBTQA & Social Justice Center 9-3-2010. The hundreds of photographs of community members holding the LGBTQA Center Requested at Pace sign have been assembled into a glorious Art Exhibit entitled, "Building a Center." To learn more about the history of this space, or to get involved in amazing archival projects with the center, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center officially opened as an independent Department within Student Affairs on September 1, 2011. The University funded the first ever full time LGBTQA Coordinator Position, along with a budget for programs and LGBTQA initiatives. Kelly Herbert was hired as the Coordinator and began building the staff and the center through the aquistion of a Graduate assistant, the creation of an internship program and the continuation of the Hub. After one semester with only one space it was clear that the number of students being served in the center far surpasses the amount of space alloted. By the Spring of 2012 an additional space was aquired to meet the growing demands of the center. After one year, the LGBTQA & Social Justice Center served over 4,000 students, held hundreds of programs and Safe Zone Trained over 200 students, staff and faculty on campus.
In early 2015 Erin Furey, LMSW, was brought on to oversee the Center upon Kelly’s departure. In February 2016 both Dean Marijo and SDACA recognized that The Center needed even more space to meet capacity. We were gifted with a large lounge and several offices, along with a conference room. The Center grew from 2 rooms into a space that truly embodies the goals of creating an LGBTQA Student Center. Today more than 150 students visit the Center monthly to hang out, seek community, watch TV, learn about themselves, attend our discussion groups and events and find a place to be affirmed. We continue to be the leading trainers of LGBTQA topics on campus and work with many campus stakeholders to ensure that LGBTQA students at Pace University feel supported, safe and affirmed. To learn more about the center's successes and the continued growth, or to get involved, stop by or email the LGBTQA Center.