History of the LGBT Center

Our History

The University of Louisville was a trailblazer on LGBT issues long before the LGBT Center opened officially in December 2007. As far back as the 1970s, LGBT student groups and faculty/staff allies have worked to make the campus more welcoming and inclusive.

Ken Terrill was an early hero of LGBT work on U of L’s campus, serving as an advisor to the student groups throughout the 1980s.  A faculty member in Theatre Arts, Dr. Terrill was an openly gay man who served as a role model to those around him and was an advocate for fairness and inclusion at a time when few people talked openly about the issue. After his death in 1994, his family endowed a scholarship in his name for students who work on behalf of the LGBT community, and this legacy continues to help students attend school today.

In 2004, the Belknap Campus was littered with homophobic flyers that prompted SGA president Ryan McKinley to take action.  He and a group of student activists presented their recommendations to Dr. Mordean Taylor-Archer, the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs.  The list included opening an office and hiring staff to serve LGBT students, and in response Dr. Taylor-Archer established a graduate assistantship to help meet the need.  Also in 2004, a group of employees formed the group Faculty and Staff for Human Rights and asked Provost Shirley Willihnganz to extend health insurance benefits to the partners of U of L employees.

Students, faculty, and staff working together brought powerful results and in 2007 U of L became the first university in Kentucky to offer health insurance benefits to LGBT employees and the first school to open an office for LGBT Services.  Dr. Taylor-Archer opened the LGBT Center with one part-time employee and a small office in a converted closet.  Since then, the center and the LGBT community at U of L have grown in amazing ways.  Along with additional staff to help forward the work of the Center, U of L has done amazing work to create a climate of inclusion:

  • Established the country’s first endowed chair in LGBT studies
  • Created an LGBT studies minor
  • Added gender identity to the campus nondiscrimination policy
  • Opened the South’s first themed housing community for students interested in LGBT issues and social justice
  • Offered the South’s first LGBT-themed study abroad experience
  • Increased accommodations for transgender students

LGBT Center - Belknap

Red Barn, Room 104

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Phone:(502) 852-0696

Office Hours

M-F 9am-5pm

 

Email

lgbt@louisville.edu

Social Media

LGBT Center - HSC

500 S. Preston St.

A Building, Room 210J

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Phone:(502) 852-5861