GREENVILLE, N.C. – The Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center at East Carolina University marked its 10th anniversary with a virtual ceremony on Jan. 27, at noon.
ECU first founded the LGBT Resource Office in 2011, and in 2019 the office became the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center, which has grown to become the largest center of its kind in the UNC system. The center sees more than 7,000 student visits each academic year.
“The 10th anniversary of the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center is a moment of celebration that is also a testament to the perseverance, vision and support of hundreds of people over several decades,” said Mark Rasdorf, senior associate director for the center. “This ceremony is a milestone in the young life of a center that will impact ECU and the region for years to come.”
Dr. Jesse Peel, a native of Everetts in eastern North Carolina, shares ECU’s vision of a safe and welcoming environment that promotes understanding, acceptance and visibility of the LGBTQ community. His pledged gift allowed the center to offer expanded study and lounge areas, staff offices, a conference room and a lending library of more than 900 titles when it relocated to the Main Campus Student Center in 2019.
Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, professor in the Watson College of Education at UNC Wilmington (and ECU provost and executive vice chancellor from 2007-2014), was scheduled to deliver the keynote during the event. ECU’s Department of Sociology will receive the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Advocacy Award.
In celebration of the milestone, the center will launch its first crowdfunding campaign on Jan. 30 in partnership with university advancement. All gifts to the LGBTQ Priority Fund will ensure the capacity to support students and impact the region. The fund, supported by the LGBTQ Advancement Council and donations from faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, provides scholarships and professional development opportunities for students.