Endowed Scholarship Established for LGBTQIA+ Students
A new endowed scholarship is being created to welcome and recognize LGBTQIA+ students attending the University of Findlay. Skylar Mettert, ’11, MAE ’14, and his partner, Kit Tiell, are providing a gift to establish the LGBTQIA+ Legacy Scholarship.
The scholarship builds upon the work of the LGBTQIA+ programs initiative committee, established in 2013, with a gift from Marian Lowe, ’97, a member of UF’s Board of Trustees.
The committee desired to create a scholarship fund that could be offered in perpetuity. While the fund is endowed over the next three years, the committee also created an operating scholarship to have an immediate impact. The first scholarship will be awarded this fall.
“We see ourselves as providing an opportunity for the committee to reach this goal,” explained Mettert, who serves as associate vice president for safety and wellness at UF. “This fund will support the committee’s mission and underscore our efforts to provide a welcoming place for all.”
Mettert and Tiell decided they would make gifts to create funds at both of their alma maters.
“We want to give back and ensure for others that there is no financial barrier to access higher education,” Mettert said. “This is another way to expand upon the mission and diversity statement of the University.”
Committee members Ron Tulley, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Robin Walters-Powell, Ed.D., ’16, chair of the Social Work and Health Care Services department, also are making donations to fund the endowment.
Tulley said being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community means a great deal to him.
“UF donors have been very generous to many diverse groups, majors, and programs. However, UF did not have any scholarships designated for students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community,” he explained. “Skylar, Robin, and I felt it was time to bring voice to what we value by supporting the continued expansion of our inclusive campus and celebrating accomplishments of our LGBTQ+ students.”
Walters-Powell agreed, adding that she has worked as an advocate on behalf of students. “This scholarship is one example of how I can offer my support to both current and future students who are looking for an accepting environment of higher education that will honor who they are as humans.”
She believes the scholarship “encourages future students to also know that UF is dedicated to providing a safe space for them to learn and develop fully into who they are destined to be.”
Mettert is pleased with the work and progress made by the committee. That includes the establishment of Safe Zone training for employees and the Oiler Ally program for students.
“We are committed to supporting a campus community that recognizes and celebrates diverse perspectives and understands the value of fostering an environment in which individuals can be their authentic selves,” he noted.
Other committee members are Michael Edelbrock, John Ferraro, Fiona Hanks, Jodi Firsdon, Sean Farmer, Bill Spraw, Charles Ludwig, Sarah Hartman, Brette Hensley, Paulina Bucaro, River Williams, Ashlyn Coleman, Nickie Decker, and Abigail Starcher.
To learn more about the LGBTQIA+ program initiatives committee, visit: https://www.findlay.edu/offices/student-affairs/title-ix/lgbt-initiatives/.
Pictured above, from left, are: scholarship endowment donors Ron Tulley, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Skylar Mettert, associate vice president for safety and wellness; and Robin Walters-Powell, Ed.D., chair of the Social Work and Health Care Services department.