provided in full by
The Santa Clara
November 16, 2017
When Jim Andre attended the University of Santa Clara in the late 60s, the school did not recognize LGBTQ+ students.
And if a student identified as such, it often came with a price to pay.
“When I was at Santa Clara, there was no LGBTQ+ support group and no visibility of LGBTQ+ students,” Andre said. “Being in the closet was the norm and being out could cause problems with discrimination in housing and employment.”
Not only do people face social issues from coming out still, but they often find themselves facing financial ones as well.
Many students who identify as LGBTQ+ experience a lack of family support growing up.
Almost 50 years since graduating from the university, Andre believes some progress had been made. But more could be done to help students in the LGBTQ+ community at Santa Clara.
After months of talking with the school, Andre, a retired teacher at the University of Southern California, decided to donate money last spring in order to start an endowed scholarship fund for LGBTQ+ students in need of financial support to attend the university.
It was important to Andre that the scholarship be open to donations and able to grow.
“As the fund grows, the amount available for scholarships will grow,” he explained.
Andre’s inspiration for starting this scholarship fund was his father, Peter R. Andre, who started The Andre Endowed Scholarship for kids from the San Luis Obispo community to attend Santa Clara.
The LGBTQ+ scholarship is extremely new and many discussions still need to take place before any money can be awarded to students from the fund.
There is still no word on the criteria a person would have to meet in order to receive this scholarship but, according to Andre the scholarship is only intended for “self-identified LGBTQ+ undergraduate students.”
It is estimated that the first year the scholarship is distributed (around 2019) it will award between $2,500 – $4,000 and $4,500+ for subsequent years, depending on the endowment returns.
Although many steps still need to be taken before the scholarship is finalized, Danielle Aguilar, Assistant Director for the Office of Multicultural Learning, believes that having this available is a huge step in the right direction for the school.
“In the past three to five years, the LGBTQ+ community here has seen a huge surge of support with the development of the Rainbow Resource Center, the creation of a chartered LGBTQ+ Alumni group, and now this scholarship,” Aguilar said. “I think it raises visibility about the LGBT community on campus and that there is a structure of support for them.”
Finding a university that strives to make its community welcoming to everyone is especially important for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
According to a Pew study reported on AffordableColleges.com, the median age for Americans to come out as being LGBTQ+ is 20, which, for most people, is right in the middle of college.
Aguilar and Andre hope that this fund, along with the Rainbow Resource Center, will show LGBTQ+ students around the country and within the Santa Clara community that they can flourish and will be supported by this Jesuit school.
“Even today it is a challenge for young people to come out,” Andre said. “I hope that LGBTQ+ students reading this article will have the strength and courage to take advantage of the resources and support available at SCU and in the community.”
“Young college students are often in a difficult predicament of not wanting to jeopardize their family financial support by coming out. They can use our understanding, love and support in working through these issues.”
Contact Kimi Andrew at kandrew@ scu.edu or call (408) 554-4852.