The University of North Carolina at Wilmington announced August 30 that it is starting its first scholarship geared toward lesbian and gay students. Established with private money, the Boseman-TenHuisen scholarship will be awarded each semester to a member of the college's gay and lesbian student club.
UNC student Justin Thompson said he hopes the new scholarship will spare other students the turmoil he experienced after coming out. He lost parental support and was fired from his job when he acknowledged his sexual orientation. "I had no money," Thompson said. "I almost dropped out."
Students of any sexual orientation will be eligible for the scholarship, and future winners could include straight supporters of the gay community, said L.S. "Bo" Dean, an adviser to the school's gay students.
The scholarship is named in honor of Professor Matthew TenHuisen, a leader of the campus gay community, and Ann Boseman, whose daughter Julia is an openly gay politician who serves as a county commissioner in New Hanover County.
Organizers still need to raise $20,000 to fully fund the scholarship. The first award will probably come next spring.