The UT Pride Center honored Theresa M. Lee, Herbert Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, with its inaugural Donor Impact Award during the 2023 Lavender Graduation celebration. Dean Lee was selected as the inaugural donor due to her long-standing contributions and support of the Center.
“Dean Lee has been a consistent supporter of the Pride Center and the LGBTQ+ community at UT,” said Bonnie Johnson, director of the Pride Center. “She has donated to the Center, attended several of our endowment fundraising events in her position as dean, and has frequently spoken out in support of the community during increasingly challenging times.”
In her time as dean, Lee brought greater diversity to the College of Arts and Sciences, including ensuring every department has female faculty members and faculty of color. She was often among the first university leaders to issue a statement after a crisis.
The Pride Center supports all students at UT by providing a space to engage with and explore issues related to gender, sexuality, and the LGBTQ+ community. The Lavender Graduation Celebration is an affinity graduation ceremony celebrating LGBTQ+ and ally graduates and their accomplishments, achievements, and impact at UT.
“We welcome graduates of all levels to participate in Lavender Graduation,” Johnson said. “It is an opportunity for our graduating students to be honored in their own words exactly as they are. Not everyone can be their full selves at university commencement ceremonies for one reason or another, and we love being able to shine a bigger spotlight on our graduates at this smaller celebration.”
After 11 years leading the college, Dean Lee will retire on June 30, 2023.
“When we think of allyship, we think of people with institutional power and privilege that are not a part of the community using their positionality to advocate and uplift that marginalized community,” Johnson said. “Dean Lee has been doing that for years, so we wanted to make sure she is appropriately appreciated for that before she steps down as dean.”
About the Pride Center
The Pride Center support all students at UT by providing a space to engage with and explore issues related to gender, sexuality, and the LGBTQ+ community. They host programming that focuses on building community among students, providing educational opportunities for the campus community, and empowering students to be their most authentic selves. The Center is a physical affinity/community space for the campus community to hang out, study, meet others, and get resources for a wide variety of topics and issues. Read more about the UT Pride Center.