Delaware Valley University Receives Gift for LGBTQ Students
May 29, 2018
Joel N. Martin ’67, an alumni donor from Delaware Valley University, has provided funding to support GLOW, a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students and allies on campus. An initial, substantial gift from Martin will be used to send two students per year to an annual LGBTQ conference for the next five years. The students will report back on what they learned and share their takeaways with the campus.
Martin cares deeply about making schools better places for LGBTQ students. He recalls not feeling that he could be out as a student in the '60s.
“In the '60s, as a gay person, I had to hide my sexuality because the times wouldn’t have allowed me to be out,” said Martin. “People don’t realize how the norms in society were during those days.”
He did not have a campus organization he could join and feels that LGBTQ student clubs play a vital role. He said that while society has “come a long way” there is still a lot of work to be done to fight discrimination and ignorance. Martin wants to make sure that current LGBTQ students feel supported and encouraged to be themselves.
Dr. Jessica McCall, a DelVal faculty member who serves as the advisor for the club, said attending conferences helps “empower students through education and networking” while broadening their support systems.
“Being able to expand their world through an opportunity like going to a national conference is priceless,” said Dr. McCall.
Martin, who works in real estate in Washington, D.C., is also working on a donation of LGBTQ books for the library and may be adding benches, that would serve as places for students to sit and talk, to campus as part of the initiative.
Katrina Eik ’19, a conservation and wildlife management major from Brooklyn, is president of GLOW. She is thankful to have an alumni donor taking an interest in the student group.
“Supporting GLOW will allow us to expand the safe space, that we have worked so hard on, all across campus,” said Eik. “It will create more opportunities to educate our members and the members of the DelVal community through educational programs, speakers, and conferences.”
Martin wants to add an eclectic selection of LGBTQ books to the campus library to create a diversity section.
“If I can contribute books to the library that help one student or two students every two years or, every three years to fulfill their life dreams, then I’ve made a difference,” said Martin.
By adding more diverse books to the campus library and boosting funding for GLOW, a campus organization for LGBTQ students and allies, Martin hopes to help students who may feel all alone.
Martin believes schools should promote the clubs and organizations they offer to support LGBTQ students so that more students find the organizations.
“Publicity about the clubs and what they do is important,” said Martin. “Just like you publicize football or any kind of athletic teams. It doesn’t have to be to the same extent, but the message just needs to be out there so that people know that they can find comfort in an organization. Students need to know they can find a place where they don’t feel out of place.”
For more information on supporting student clubs and organizations, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 215.489.2397 or, visit delval.edu/alumni-and-giving.