Pride Awards Recognize Leaders in LGBTQIA+ Community

Annual program honors accomplishments by students, faculty, alumni and more
Diverse group of people celebrating the LGBTQIA community

The annual UMKC Pride Awards recognize outstanding individuals in the community who have contributed to the betterment of the LGBTQIA+ community through education, support, programming or activism. These awards honor those who have contributed in the areas of service and outreach, establishing a safer and more welcoming environment at UMKC.

“This year, our office was blown away by the nominations and the quality of awards candidates,” said Kari Jo Freudigmann, assistant director, LGBTQIA Programs and Services. “There are many change-makers on campus and in our local community, and we want to be sure they know that their work and efforts do not go unnoticed.”

The full list of 2020 awards includes:

Note: The text under the names of each award recipient are excerpts from the nomination packets.

Outstanding Faculty/Staff: Tamica L. Lige

Recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or ally faculty or staff who contribute to a positive campus climate for LGBTQIA individuals.

“Plenty can talk, plan or imagine: Tamica Lige gets to work. Under Ms. Lige’s leadership, an organization on UMKC’s Hospital Hill with an established history expanded its mission to include the needs of LGBTQIA+ people.”

“Tamica Lige scheduled sessions with healthcare providers at institutions with which UMKC has partnerships in order for us to learn more about the needs of transgender patients and their struggles navigating healthcare systems.”

Jim Wanser Award: Mark T Sawkin

Named for the faculty member, advisor and guiding force to the UMKC LGBT Initiative and its development into the LGBT Office, this award recognizes an individual who has volunteered hours of service to the UMKC LGBTQIA community or the greater Kansas City LGBTQIA community.

“Dr. Sawkin is heavily involved in the UMKC STAHR program that focuses on ways in which we can increase program retention for students that come from underserved backgrounds. One way in which he has done this is by eliminating barriers, and helping all his students, including myself, feel accepted.”

Rising Star Award: Jager “Jay” Wirth

Recognizes one area high school student whose leadership and service have resulted in a tangible gain for LGBTQIA students (such as Gay/Straight Alliance), or whose energies have created a more friendly, inclusive environment at their high school.  

“Jager helped to found the GSA at our high school two years ago, as before there wasn’t really a safe space for students in the LGBTQIA community to go and be supported by peers and faculty as well. Jager saw a need, and he made it happen.”

Outstanding Alumni Award: Taryn Hodison

Recognizes one UMKC Alum who works toward fostering an inclusive community, at UMKC or in the community in which they live and work.

“She has a gift of being able to provide a space in which those identifying as LGBTQIA+ feel safe, seen and heard, something many have never felt.”

“Taryn has a special interest in transgender youth, especially in providing them with education, fellowship, connection and acceptance. She has hopes of developing a program that will benefit Kansas City youth that can also be taught and implemented nationally.”

Graduate/Professional Student of the Year Award: Luke R. Allen

Recognizes one student for outstanding leadership, dedication and service within the university, or in the community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services, or programs for the LGBTQIA community. 

“Luke is especially interested in topics related to sexual and gender diversity, including LGBTQ youth, counseling effectiveness, and culturally relevant counseling approaches with these populations. Luke developed a study that explored the extra-familial sources of support for transgender and gender nonconforming youth.”

Undergraduate Student of the Year Award: Kristen Garcia

Recognizes one student for outstanding leadership, dedication, and service within the University, or in the community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services, or programs for the LGBTQIA community. 

“I met Kristen for the first time at the 2019 Masqueerade event after she personally reached out by email to invite me. As a queer individual who never got the chance to go to homecoming and Prom, that night truly meant the world to me. That night happened because of the endless work Kristen put into it.”

Collaborative Excellence Award: Central United Methodist Church – Sally Haynes and Maggie Holley

Recognizes departments whose collaborative efforts have resulted in new or improved resources and services for LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff or community members. 

“Rev. Dr. Sally Haynes from Central Methodist Church works endlessly for the students at UMKC. She has committed to ensuring her church to be inclusive and affirming of all gender and sexual identities. She put up flags and posters to tell the community that the church is on the LGBT+ side and that the community is welcome.”

“With the help of Maggie Holley reaching out to the LGBTQIA Programs & Services office, she organized a UMC Community Dinner where students from UMKC were welcomed in the church to discuss LGBT+ concerns, goals and get to know students.”

Published: Jun 9, 2020

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