Anonymous donors offer spring LGBTQ+ inclusiveness scholarship to UM students  

Starting in the spring semester of 2020, UM will begin offering a scholarship dedicated to LGBTQ+ and other people of minorities. It is called the University of Montevallo LGBTQ+ Inclusiveness and Social Activism Endowed Scholarship. 

The recipient of the scholarship will receive $500 for two semesters.  

“The scholarship was created to honor UM students, faculty, and staff who in the course of their lives sought to ensure everyone they encountered felt included. The scholarship is amazing because it both recognizes the legacy of our students and staff, and also sets the path for future students to continue such work,” said Grace Bagwell, president of Spectrum, the LGBTQ+ student organization of UM.  

Bree Roberts, the academic coordinator for TRIO’s student support services, was tasked with finding the recipient of the scholarship. 

“A donor decided that they really wanted to celebrate what Montevallo means, and for a lot of people in Montevallo, that means diversity and inclusion. We wanted to celebrate the students who are working towards that,” said Roberts, the faculty staff advisor of Spectrum. 

The donor of the scholarship has elected to stay anonymous; however, they expressed great excitement about handing the duties of the scholarship off to Roberts. It was a quick turn around because it will be offered in January, according to Roberts. 

“When they came to me and said, ‘hey this is what we want to do,’ I was like if I had the ability to do cartwheels, I would have been doing cartwheels,” said Roberts. 

She shared that Montevallo is the perfect hub for a scholarship like this because it is such an inclusive and diverse place. She explained further that she believes UM is a “come as you are” place.  

“We really do mean this when we say you can come to Montevallo, you can be who you are and explore who you are and you can grow to whoever you want to be,” said Roberts. “This scholarship does that. It says we really do celebrate and believe in that.”  

Both Roberts and Bagwell believe this scholarship will help students across the board, whether they are LGBTQ+, minority students or women at UM. 

“As for it’s perception of the university as a whole, I think that this step just reflects the amazing atmosphere UM has cultivated for its students. Every step of my journey at UM has been guided with acceptance and support by the amazing resources on campus,” said Bagwell.  

To apply students need to email Bree Roberts in no more than 1,000 words explaining what students do to make others feel included. She put emphasis on the importance of long term goals. The statements are due Nov. 8. 

According to a statement that was sent out about the scholarship, areas of interest may include work pertaining to: LGBTQ+ advocacy, racial/ethnic justice, human rights, social justice, equality, mental health and suicide prevention.  

In reference to students who wonder if the scholarship applies to them, Roberts urges them to apply anyway.  

“I think that the scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for students. So often people participate in service and activism with no expectation for recognition, but this scholarship aims to recognize these selfless students,” Bagwell shared.