The announcement, which was posted in the university’s student newspaper “The Pepperdine Graphic”, is a needs based scholarship that will be given to those who advocate and “promote the health (mental or physical) and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community.” The scholarship will be open to students of all sexualities.
The initial introduction of the scholarship was announced on Feb. 12 and applications are being accepted through March 31. It was funded by Pepperdine donors Frank James Vinci and George Bushnell Ellsworthe and will be called the Vinci-Ellsworthe scholarshop after both founders.
The scholarship seemingly moves away from the school’s recent stance on LGBT issues. Just last year the university refused to recognized an on campus LGBT advocacy group called Reach OUT as well as other known campus conflicts involving its stance on LGBT issues.
But the school states that the award will further Pepperdine’s commitment to diversity and doesn’t necessary represent a change in policy.
Noelle Marion, a recent alumna and creator of the Reach OUT Facebook group, told the Malibu Times:
“I believe the scholarship will have an undoubtedly positive effect on the LGBT community on campus. The allocation of this scholarship is an indication that the university acknowledges that LGBT students (and supporters) are represented in the Pepperdine family and more notably that these students are worthy of positive recognition.”
In the overall atmosphere of higher education, this inclusion and attention given to the LGBT community by the university, not only builds and recognizes the character of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals striving for various degrees at the university, it also gives off a since of belonging and an identification of existence.