NEW DIRECTOR JOINS GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER CONCERNS OFFICE AT UIC
Patrick Finnessy has joined the University of Illinois at Chicago as the new director of the Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns. He was selected after a national search.
Finnessy served previously as principal and dean of students at Stevenson High School's After-School Academy in Lincolnshire, Ill. He is a long-time advocate for increasing tolerance, awareness and support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
While at Stevenson, Finnessy implemented several programs, including "Project 10 Midwest," a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender student support group, and DIPLOMATS, a faculty and staff coalition dedicated to combating prejudice and misinformation about sexual orientation issues. Several Chicago-area schools adopted both programs following their success at Stevenson.
Finnessy also created interdisciplinary K-12 curricula guides, including "Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian" (New Press, 1996), that have been featured at national, state and local education conferences. His articles on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in education have appeared in such publications as the ALAN Review, and his most recent essay will appear in the upcoming book "Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints" (Scarecrow Press, 2001).
"Patrick Finnessy was chosen after a thorough screening of many well-qualified applicants by the search committee," said Interim Vice Provost Uday Sukhatme, "He has already begun the process of re-vitalizing the Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns. His commitment to creating a positive environment for all students, combined with his previous work experience at Stevenson High School, will help to recruit talented students to UIC."
In his new role, Finnessy will work to increase the visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and issues, create academic events and programs, and further develop gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender scholarship. He will also concentrate on building relationships with high schools to promote UIC as a safe and inviting learning environment for all students.
"One of the reasons I was attracted to UIC was because of its motto: teach, research, serve and care," said Finnessy. "I'm excited to add to this vision, to share my expertise on issues of sexual orientation with the UIC community, and to be a part of an institution that is becoming a leader in groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary inquiry."
Finnessy earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa and a master's degree in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Timothy Murphy, professor in the UIC College of Medicine and chair of the selection committee said, "Patrick is eminently qualified to enhance UIC as a welcoming place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and staff, and he is prepared to show college applicants that UIC would be an excellent place for their education. We are fortunate to have him."
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