Scholarship will benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and those working toward legal equality for LGBT individuals
- By Gilien Silsby
|From Left: Elliot Rozenberg, USC Law dean Robert K. Rasmussen and Seth Levy (Photo/Irene Fertik)
The USC Gould School of Law student group OUTLaw made history by becoming the first on-campus group to launch an effort to endow a scholarship to the school.
Designed to benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and those working toward legal equality for LGBT individuals, the scholarship was envisioned by OUTLaw board members to help future generations of law students at USC.
“This has been an incredible undertaking,” said Elliot Rozenberg, president of OUTLaw, who is organizing the scholarship effort with Seth Levy JD ’01, general counsel of the It Gets Better Project.
“It is important to support and encourage those who seek LGBT equality to practice law and to attend a school like USC, where they can develop the skills they need to be successful. These students often cannot afford law school and cannot afford to pay off their loans afterward. This scholarship will make it easier for them to pursue their goals and to fight for LGBT equality in the law.”
At a recent benefit, OUTLaw raised $20,000 of its $100,000 goal. More than 100 USC Law students, faculty and staff, as well as several members of the Los Angeles legal community, attended the fundraiser.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these students,” said USC Law Dean Robert K. Rasmussen. “Their work and dedication is truly remarkable. Their efforts highlight the inclusive nature of our law school community, and I am certain this scholarship drive will be a tremendous success.”
Levy said he was honored to join Rozenberg in the launch of the scholarship effort. When he came to USC Law in the late 1990s, there were few organizations to help and support LGBT students, he added.
“I had just come out of the closet, and I was starting a whole new chapter,” Levy said. “This time was extremely important for me. At USC, I found an environment I had never experience before. I started working for professor David Cruz and the Gay and Lesbian Center, and I had amazing experiences.”
Cruz, the faculty advisor for OUTLaw, said that despite great legal advances for LGBT persons in the United States, much work remains. Many basic rights are still denied in large parts of the country.
“This scholarship is tremendously important,” Cruz said. “There is a lot to do in California and across the nation to find equality and acceptance for everyone.”