George Howe Wins 2011 commonGround Ally Award
The Red Barn and George J. Howe have been synonymous for many years, but now Howe’s name is synonymous with something else, being an ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students at the University of Louisville.
During the university’s annual Pride Week celebration, commonGround leaders recognized Howe with the 2011 Ally Award for his unwavering support of LGBT students. According to his nominators, Howe embodies the qualities of an ally by going above and beyond the call of duty and extending a welcoming hand to students. One example cited was his willingness to compete last year in a fundraising challenge that raised money for commonGround and ultimately required him to perform in drag during PINK, the annual drag show. Howe’s advocacy is further evidenced in the countless articles about LGBT issues that are laminated and displayed for all to see in his office. But mostly, students noted his caring and genuine way of interacting with others.
“George is the type of person who asks how you are doing, and is genuinely interested in the answer. He is not even aware of how far above and beyond he goes to improve the lives of students,” said LGBT Services intern Liz O’Sullivan.
Howe, whose official title is director of development and special projects, has worked for the university for 40 years and was its first director of student activities. In 2008, the Red Barn was officially renamed the George J. Howe Red Barn in honor of his work as coordinator of the university landmark.
Howe received his award during the October 6 Pride Week keynote address given by “Rent” star Anthony Rapp. Past winners Michael Anthony, Julie Onnembo, and Mordean Taylor-Archer were also in the audience, and their presence was a highlight of the evening for Howe. “I am extremely humbled and honored to be in the company of the previous three recipients,” he said.
Congratulations again to George Howe for winning the 2011 Ally Award!