MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System has announced the winner of the 2010 Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People, an annual honor given to a UW faculty or staff member, or UW student, to recognize that individual’s contributions within the UW System on behalf of LGBTQ communities.
This year’s honoree is Willem Van Roosenbeek, UW-La Crosse senior student services coordinator and Pride Center director, whose advocacy and outreach to students and faculty began during his time there as a student. Under Van Roosenbeck’s leadership, the Pride Center has gained national recognition for its programming by the Consortium of LGBTQ Educators. He has initiated numerous campus programs, such as the Rainbow Graduation Reception and UW-La Crosse LGBTQ Alumni Organization, as well as ongoing trainings and panels that serve the wider community.
Van Roosenbeek collaborates with Multicultural Student Services and Disability Resource Services to ensure that UW-La Crosse addresses all the intersectional complexities in students’ lives. He is a founding member of the campus Hate Response Team, which has resulted in increased awareness of bias incidents on campus. He has made innovative contributions to the curriculum by co-developing a study abroad program in Paris that focuses on LGBTQ identity issues and is open to students throughout the UW System.
The UW System Office of Academic Affairs will present the award on April 16, 2010, at the UW System Annual Women’s Studies/LGBTQ Conferences, hosted this year by UW-Whitewater. The events are co-sponsored by the UW System Women’s Studies Consortium and the UW System Inclusivity Initiative for LGBTQ People.
“The UW System is committed to providing a safe, welcoming atmosphere for all our students, faculty, and staff. This award is an important recognition of how individual contributions make a real difference in promoting respect and understanding within the university and broader community,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly.
UW institutions submit nominations for the awards, which highlight each nominee’s contributions to advocacy, research, teaching, or service on behalf of LGBTQ communities.
The award honors the memory and legacy of Dr. Paula.B. Poorman, a faculty member at UW-Whitewater who played an instrumental role in the foundation of the UW System Inclusivity Initiative.
“Willem’s willingness to draw on his personal story to influence policy makers, administrators, leaders, and students has led to positive outcomes and an improved climate for LGBTQ people at the UW-L campus and throughout the UW System. Willem truly embodies P.B.’s spirit, efforts, and influence in every way,” said Lisa Beckstrand, inclusivity initiative director.
The award ceremony will include a keynote speech by Sabrina Sojourner, the first open lesbian to be elected to the United States Congress.