News Release: Student Life

Mar. 16,  2009

Student Honored with First GALA Leadership Award

The Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA) of Emory University and the Office of LGBT Life in the Division of Campus Life recently announced the recipient of the first GALA Leadership Award:

Emory junior Olivia Wise, a women’s studies and English major from Lawrenceville, Ga.

Wise was presented with a $2,500 scholarship at the Emory University Pride Awards Reception earlier this month. This scholarship was given to Wise for her demonstrated leadership to positively impact the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities at Emory.

"I am deeply moved and honored to have received such an important award. As a young scholar-activist and lesbian feminist, this award inspires me to continue to combat all forms of oppression while also motivating me to begin new queer-friendly and LGBT-positive programs at Emory,” says Wise.

The GALA Leadership Award is the outcome of more than two years of fundraising by GALA members, who worked to endow the award at $100,000.

“It is amazingly gratifying to know we are supporting students who can continue to matriculate with less financial burden,” says Emory alumna and co-chair of GALA, Sharon Semmens. “The award is another example of the university's ongoing commitment to making the environment at Emory ever more affirming and welcoming to members of the LGBT and allied communities."

A gift from the father of a recent Emory graduate allowed GALA and the Office of LGBT Life to give the first award in the spring of 2009. The LGBT office is dedicated to increasing the endowment to $200,000, which will provide funding for two awards annually.

Emory was recently listed among the top 100 most inclusive universities in "The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students" and has earned 4.5 of 5 stars in the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index, a national benchmarking tool launched in 2008 by a nonprofit organization called Campus Pride.

More information on the award, GALA and Emory's Office of LGBT Life.


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