Campus Life

Penn State students awarded the Susan R. Rankin Award

The two Penn State students -- Theo Bragunier and Mariah Baccardi --  were chosen to receive the Sue Rankin award, announced at the Pride Rally on Wednesday.

This annual award is given to students, staff, faculty, community members or organizations who have provided leadership and service to LGBTQQIA communities and who demonstrate outstanding efforts for leadership, integrity and outstanding contributions.

Nominators must provide an essay or email that speaks to the accomplishments of the nominee, and address these three criteria.

Each year’s awardees are coordinated by the Pride Week Planning committee. Staff and students from the LGBTQA Student Resource Center’s Advisory Board and Center, will select the awardee(s).

Nominees are then recognized during the Pride Rally event that takes place during Pride Week on the Old Main steps.

This year’s awardees are Bragunier of the University Park campus. “Theo has always gone out of their way to support their peers in the community, and has been a great example of success through extreme adversity. They have fought to be in school, between physical and mental illness, financial constraints, abuse, and bigotry from the community and their family. Still, they always have time to listen when someone in the community is hurting and is the sort of person who will drive three hours at 4 in the morning if you need them right then. Most notably and recently, Theo has been student teaching at a Montessori PreK-5 school for art education. When the professional development day at their school completely ignored the issues surrounding LGBTQA students, Theo noticed the LGBT students around them and refused to be silent. Theo reached out to their superiors and designed and led their own professional development day for all faculty and was so successful they were invited to give the presentation again to the PTA and a local youth group.”

Mariah Baccardi of Penn State’s Mont Alto campus. “She wants to educate and bring awareness to the LGBTQ cause on her campus. A friend of hers was getting bullied because he was gay, she stood up for him and took the situation to the right people to remedy the situation. She is truly a person who cares for LGBTQ community and will not stop until all people of this community feel safe.”

For more information about this award or for information about how to support the LGBTQ community email



Sue Rankin Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated March 31, 2016