Princeton kicks off LGBT alumni conference

LGBT video index

"Every Voice," a Princeton University conference for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and ally alumni, features a video in which faculty, staff, students and alumni discuss LGBT life at Princeton. Debbie Bazarsky, director of Princeton's LGBT Center, said she has seen a transformation in the atmosphere among and toward LGBT students.

Photo by Denise Applewhite

Video stills courtesy of Nick Barberio

Princeton University is hosting its first conference for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and ally alumni on campus Thursday to Saturday, April 11-13. The "Every Voice" conference includes presentations by alumni, faculty, staff and students; alumni discussion groups; networking opportunities; film screenings; and other social events.

Hundreds of alumni are attending the three-day celebration, which features:

  • A conversation with Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman;
  • A panel discussion on the experience of Princeton students today moderated by Jeff Nunokawa, professor of English and master of Rockefeller College;
  • A conversation with authors Jodi Picoult, a Class of 1987 graduate, and Jennifer Weiner, a Class of 1991 graduate;
  • Remarks from David Huebner, a Class of 1982 graduate and the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa; U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Class of 1996 graduate; and Jordan Roth, a Class of 1997 graduate and president of Jujamcyn Theaters;
  • An alumni-student reception featuring remarks from James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum; and
  • Alumni and faculty panels on marriage equality, HIV, gender and sexuality studies, LGBT issues in the workplace and other topics.

A full schedule (.pdf) is available on the Every Voice website.

On Friday morning, the conference organizers premiered a video that chronicles the experience of LGBT students at Princeton during the past five decades through interviews with alumni, faculty, staff and students. It traces a time when the LGBT community was largely invisible on campus and in society at large to the present, when the LGBT community is a vibrant part of the Princeton campus and nine states across the country have legalized same-sex marriage.

"This is I think one of the most dramatic cultural changes that I've ever experienced in my life, which is the change in people's attitudes toward LGBT individuals. So I think Princeton has benefited from that. … This is a place where LGBT individuals can really thrive," Tilghman said in the video.

Cole Crittenden, a 2005 graduate alumnus and associate dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School, came to the University toward the end of that evolution in campus culture.

"For me, what was really terrific about Princeton is that it felt like this inclusive and supportive place from the day I arrived," he said.

During the conference, alumni attendees also will have the opportunity to record their personal stories as part of an audio and video oral history project.

The conference is open to all Princeton undergraduate and graduate alumni, faculty and staff. Registration is free and attendees who did not register in advance should register in person at the Office of the Alumni Association in Maclean House.