Grinnell College Elects Openly Gay President
February 17, 2010
This post comes from Aaron Teskey, HRC's youth and campus outreach coordinator. Grinnell College’s Board of Trustees unanimously elected Raynard Kington, an openly gay man, as its next president. Nestled in the corn fields of Iowa, Grinnell is a small liberal arts college known for its politically active student body and commitment to social justice. Kingston’s election is just another sign to me of why I almost attended Grinnell (although coincidently enough, his partner is a professor at my alma mater, George Washington University). While Kington’s professional background is impressive and includes his current role as deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), his election demonstrates to queer students, faculty and others in higher education that they are welcome and can be open about their sexualities. More than ever, young people today support LGBT equality and having such a visible role model reminds us to dream big and stand proud. Kingston joins a number of openly LGBT college presidents, including Carolyn “Biddy” Martin who was elected as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2008. Not only do these individuals help to make their own campuses inclusive and welcoming of the LGBT community, but their elections hasten the day when gay-straight alliances are readily recognized by school administrations and an LGBT Resource Center is seen as an important campus resource.