Supporting a culture of community and inclusivity
Giving Report 2020: Student Support
Kevin Sterns (’67) supports LGBTQ+ student initiatives through new Community Engagement Fund
More than 50 years after he graduated with his Bachelor of Commerce degree, Kevin Sterns says he still has a soft spot for Mount A.
“I was the first in my family to attend University,” says Sterns, who grew up in Glace Bay, NS, but is now based in New York City. “Mount A was my first venture away from home. My years there were wonderful.”
It was also at Mount Allison where Sterns learned some valuable lessons in self-confidence and acceptance, coming out in his last year following a chance encounter and conversation while volunteering with the World University Services of Canada’s (WUSC) annual fund raiser.
“In the 60s, there were no role models for gay youth, I was struggling,” says Sterns. “I knew I was different from a lot of my friends and classmates but I didn’t know why. There was no support network in place.”
Now, Sterns is helping to create more supports for today’s students through the establishment of the Sterns LGBTQ+ Community Engagement Fund at Mount Allison. The new fund will see a student employed as a peer educator, focusing on and encouraging engagement, community outreach, leadership, advocacy, and raising awareness and support of LGBTQ+ communities on campus and in the wider community.
The individual will work in conjunction with the University’s Wellness Centre, as well as student groups and societies on campus, starting in 2021.
Over the past number of years, LGBTQ+ awareness has grown on campus and in the community with events such as the annual Pride flag raising both on campus and at Town Hall as well as the Pride Parade. The University also continues to work with numerous campus and community organizations and is grateful to be able to expand this programming through the new community engagement fund.
Sterns says he’s pleased to be able to support LGBTQ+ students and encourage education and acceptance in this way.
“I hope this kind of story will encourage other donors to come forward in supporting students and assist the University community as a whole in their work towards equality, diversity, and inclusion,” he says.
Sterns is also pleased to share this news with his family, which includes two other Allisonians.
“It’s exciting to celebrate this kind of news with my niece and nephew, who are also both recent graduates,” he says. “During my 50th Reunion in 2017, my niece, who was graduating, and I stood side by side as both classes got their photo taken on the Convocation Hall steps. It was a special experience, one that is really unique to Mount Allison. I’m happy to support today’s students in this way.”
Learn more about Giving to Mount Allison on the Development Office page.
Photo captions: Kevin Sterns (Class of ’67) and a file photo from the 2019 Mount Allison/Town of Sackville Pride Parade.