Campus Life

Penn Staters' efforts to build inclusive and supportive environment recognized

CLGBTQE Awards recognize individuals who strive to improve the climate for and who have made outstanding contributions to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community at Penn State. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In recognition of student, faculty, staff, and community leader efforts to build an inclusive community, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity (CLGBTQE) has announced the recipients of the 2018 CLGBTQE Outstanding Service, Academic Achievement, and Community Partnership Awards.

Each year, the commission recognizes individuals in the community who have worked to improve the lives of LGBTQ Penn Staters.

“CLGBTQE’s Outstanding Service, Academic Achievement, and Community Partnership awards seek to recognize those in our community who fully personify the ideals of equity and inclusion and have gone above and beyond in making Penn State and its surrounding communities truly an academic home for LGBTQ people,” said Borja Gutiérrez, 2016-18 CLGBTQE chair.

This year’s recipients of the Academic Achievement Award are Samantha Tornello, assistant professor of human development and family studies,  and Jessica A. Kurr, a postdoctoral teaching fellow in communication arts and sciences. Both awardees’ work in the classroom, in their research, and in their service have singularly advanced LGBTQ inclusion and awareness.

Ann Marie Major, associate professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, is the faculty recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her extraordinary and selfless work on CLGBTQE, serving as two-term co-chair of its communications and outreach committee.

The staff recipients of this year’s Outstanding Service Awards are Brad Kovaleski, director of student services and engagement at Penn State Worthington Scranton, and Jacqueline Warnick-Piatt, student activities coordinator at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Kovaleski and Warnick-Piatt have enhanced the climate for LGBTQ people in their programming efforts and in their daily personal interactions with students and employees on their respective campuses.

Tom Fountaine, State College borough manager, and Elizabeth Goreham, former mayor of State College, are this year’s awardees of the Commission’s Community Partnership Award, in recognition of their support of and collaborative efforts with CLGBTQE in establishing an LGBTQ advisory committee in the Borough of State College.

The awards ceremony will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 6, in the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus. RSVP at

For more information, contact Borja Gutiérrez at


Created in 1991, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity is an advisory group to the President of Penn State. The Commission works to improve the climate for diversity within Penn State by addressing issues affecting the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) members of the University community.

Last Updated March 28, 2018