By BTL Staff
Lansing Community College, the state’s third largest community college, announced it is offering a scholarship for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. While some four-year institutions such as Michigan State University offer such scholarships, this is believed to be the first scholarship offered to the gay community at a community college in Michigan.
The scholarship is open to any member of the LGBT community who has a 2.2 or higher grade point average, is under the age of 25 and resides in the district. Applicants should also be involved in the LGBT community in some way.
The scholarship was named for Betsy Lou Robson, a member of the Lansing community. Her family determined that funding the scholarship was an excellent way to honor her. The funding is enough to last for three or four years, says Peggy Hellwig, a scholarship coordinator at LCC. As a result, she said, the LCC Foundation will continue to solicit donations to keep the scholarship running for many years.
Leaders in the LGBT community hailed the new scholarship, which has an application deadline of Jan. 28.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see young, out, and proud members of the LGBT communities being recognized and helped in their educational goals. We are particularly pleased to see this start to happen on the community college level, where so many people turn for vocational education or for a more inexpensive way to begin their college careers,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, interim executive director of Equality Michigan, a statewide education and advocacy organization for the LGBT community. “Thank you, Lansing Community College, for leading the way – we hope Michigan’s other community colleges will be able to join you soon in offering these crucially important scholarships to LGBT students.”
Meanwhile, the Lansing Association for Human Rights, a Lansing area LGBT group, was also full of praise for the scholarship.
“We are delighted by this scholarship opportunity made available to our community. Ms. Robson’s generosity and thoughtfulness is much appreciated,” said Penny Gardner, president of LAHR. “We look forward to knowing who are the recipients for LAHR to honor them and the memory of Ms. Betsey Sue Robson at some future event.”
Gardner said having such a scholarship available for the LGBT community was important.
“Having this LCC Betsey Lou Robson scholarship available to the LGBT community means that we are recognized as integral to LCC and to Lansing. It means in yet another way, LGBT people will have another opportunity to advance and achieve their goals. LCC was chosen because Ms. Robson lived in Lansing,” said Gardner. “I wager she was familiar with the LGBT active presence in Lansing, was also familiar with those discriminating obstacles some of us are able to negotiate and is providing assistance to individuals to negotiate them a bit easier. Further, I imagine she might have foreseen the long term effects this support will provide to our city and to groups like LAHR over time.”
For more information on the scholarship – whether donating to it or applying for it – please visit the LCC Foundation website http://www.lcc.edu/scholarships/foundation_scholarships/. The scholarship will fund up to four semesters for those who win the scholarship. Hellwig says the scholarship is currently funded for several years, but without further funding support, the scholarship will cease to exist.