Welcome to LGBTQ Alumni Association!
The purpose of our group is to help encourage connections among our alumni and to offer opportunities and support to current LGBTQ students. To learn more about how to get involved with this alumni association, please join our mailing list by CLICKING HERE
President: Jenna Pel (’13)
Vice President: Shawn Kuehn (’10|’13)
Secretary: Clay Zakarian (’12)
Treasurer: Stacy Peterson (’08)
Past President: Kevin Hamby (’06)
Director of Membership: Maria Canlas (’10)
Director of Social Media/Marketing: Chandrayee Soneja (M.S. ’17)
Director of Student Engagement: Crimson Jordan (’17)
Director of Scholarship and Emergency Crisis Fund: Kelli Vorish (’09)
Events and Community Liaison: Lizeth Jaramillo (’10)
Events and Programs
Check back next summer for more information on our next annual meeting!
We have always celebrated Cougar Pride!
In 1976, the University of Houston’s Gay Activist Alliance organized a Pride event to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. Although it is sometimes dismissed as “just a march”, fliers and other promotional pieces clearly identified it as a parade. There were no marching bands, floats or banners, and most of the participants had been recruited during the previous year by pioneering Houston activist Ray Hill whom attended the University of Houston.
Since then, Houston’s Pride Parade has grown to become the fourth-largest in the country (and the 15th largest in the world) with an estimated attendance of 700,000 in 2017. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Houston Pride Parade which celebrates the Houston LGBTQ community. The day consisted of a massive festival in front of City Hall which then culminated into an evening parade of 150 entries.
The University of Houston was one of the entries in the parade which included current students from the Spirit of Houston and members of the UH Student Government Association. Current UH LGBTQ Alumni Association President Kevin Hamby, ’06 presided over the float wearing his cougar-red sequin cowboy hat and presidential sash, representing the proud LGBTQ alumni that were also on the float and walking. Following the float in the parade were walkers of UH faculty, staff and students and members of the UH LGBTQ Resource Center. All participants were wearing t-shirts, custom designed by a graphic design alumnus, Aike Jamal.
“This could not have been possible without the help of Evan Manuel, ’17 who managed the volunteers, festival and parade entry,” Hamby said.
He added. “So many leaders from the University were involved this year to elevate our presence in the parade. Lorraine Schroeder and Jamie Gonzales from the LGBTQ Resource Center organized the students, and Moores School of Music Associate Dean David Bertman and Spirit of Houston Interim Director Cameron Kubos made sure we had the band, cheer, Cougar Dolls, and mascots. It was truly impressive!”
The success of alumni engagement and visibility of the University was unprecedented as the UH LGBTQ Alumni Association moved into their 5th year of organizing this dynamic event for the University. The organization of the UH entry was conceived by Nick Brines, ‘92 and Hamby.
“This one event is near and dear to my heart, as I am able to put my energy and dedication into building visibility for our LGBTQ Cougars,” Hamby said.
The UH LGBTQ Alumni Association, UH LGBTQ Resource Center and the Spirit of Houston are already planning next year’s event.
This scholarship aims to encourage LGBTQ students to pursue studies at the University through this Scholarship Program. Each scholarship is a one-time award paid each semester or one award paid in the Fall semester (if the student is graduating in the fall semester). Check back in January of 2019 when the application goes live!