Thank you, Ronni and Janina.
It's an honor to be here to celebrate the opening of our 20th CyberCenter, housed at the UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center. Little did I realize how successful this program would become when we opened our first CyberCenter at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 1999.
Ronni and I have a shared history with the LGBT Center at the University of Michigan — Ronni being the former Director of the Center, and, I, having been a volunteer at the Center 25 years ago while I was pursuing my MBA at The University of Michigan. My responsibilities at the time were to answer calls on what was then called the 'Gay Crisis Hotline'. This was a telephone hotline that was available to students and others who were having a 'crisis' with their sexual orientation.
Many of the calls to the hotline were questions about how to meet other lesbians and gay men, but unfortunately, too many of the calls were from young women and men contemplating suicide because that seemed their only exit from their shame and pain and the rejection of society.
Because of that experience at The University of Michigan, I vowed that I would do whatever was in my power to help lesbians and gay men feel good about themselves and achieve acceptance and equal rights within society.
Well, LGBT students at UCLA now have the Campus Resource Center and the David Bohnett Cyber Center to call their home on campus.
In preparing my remarks for this afternoon's ceremony, I was very impressed with Vice Chancellor's Montero's message on her web site regarding her view of the mission of the UCLA Student Affairs office. She states:
I recognize that UCLA is a big place. Students can sometimes feel lost in the shuffle while trying to figure out their daily routines, including where to live and which courses to enroll in. … (W)e in Student Affairs view our role of “taking care of the students” in the purest sense — making sure they have the best possible environment for exploring their intellectual interests and achieving their full potential. We want to make sure that all students feel at home somewhere at UCLA. As such, we aim to deliver the best possible services and programs that reflect the diverse needs of many different groupings of students. We encourage UCLA students to explore and connect with our wide range of innovative programs and services, and to take full advantage of these opportunities.
Thank you to Ronni Sanlo and Janina Montero for your vision and leadership in supporting the LGBT Campus Resource Center and this Cyber Center. The students of UCLA are very fortunate indeed.