In 1989, the offices of the Dean of the Chapel (now the Office of Religious Life) and the Dean of Student Life (now the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students) began hiring graduate students to help organize LGBT student activities. Princeton University became the sixth university in the country to create an LGBT coordinator position. In 1994, the position became a ten-month internship within the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. This internship evolved into a full-time professional position in 2001, which became known as the LGBT Student Services Coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
Over the years, many students and staff recognized the need for a dedicated LGBT center at Princeton and worked hard to make this dream a reality. In the spring of 2002, students began writing a proposal for the creation of a LGBT center. Gabriel Barrett '02 (President of the Pride Alliance, 2000-2001), researched and wrote the first draft of this formal proposal, and Sue Dyer '03, (President of the Pride Alliance, 2001-2002), edited this first rendition. In 2003, the LGBT Task Force continued working on the proposal under the leadership of then co-chairs Jan Runkle (Business Manager, University Health Services, LGBT Task Force co-chair, 2002-2005) and Vigi Sklar '03 (LGBT Task Force co-chair, 2002-2003). Members of the LGBT Task Force, most notably Kris Kersey '04 (President of the Pride Alliance, 2002-2003) and Chad Klaus (General Manager, Services, Office of the Vice President for Facilities, LGBT Task Force co-chair, 2005-2006), were instrumental in the development and editing of the proposal.
In the spring of 2003, Kris Kersey, Vigi Sklar, and Genevieve Aguilar *03 (President of the Queer Graduate Caucus, 2002-2003) presented the completed proposal to Janet Dickerson (Vice President for Campus Life). The following fall, Kris Kersey, Jan Runkle, Jon Hsu '04 (co-chair of the LGBT Task Force, 2003-2004), Blue Guldal (President Queer Graduate Caucus, 2003-2004), and Elise Wright '83 (LGBT Task Force Alumni Liaison, 2002-2004) presented the proposal to President Shirley Tilghman. President Tilghman felt strongly that there should be an LGBT center on the Princeton campus comparable to the Fields Center, Women's Center, and International Center. She recognized the need for increased support and resources for the LGBT campus community. This news was greeted with great excitement by the entire LGBT community.
In the summer of 2005, the LGBT Student Services office evolved into The LGBT Center, and Debbie Bazarsky (LGBT Student Services Coordinator, 2001-2005), moved into a new role as The LGBT Center Director. Kathleen Deignan (Dean of Undergraduate Students) worked to ensure that the new Center had increased staffing and programming funds to make it in line with the other centers on campus. Matt Carcella was hired as the first LGBT Center Program Coordinator (2005-2009). Construction for the new LGBT Center began in October 2005, and the beautiful new Center opened its doors in March 2006.
The LGBT Center staff sincerely thanks the above individuals for their hard work and dedication in making the Center possible!