Awards and Scholarships

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We're proud to recognize leadership, talent, dedication, support and achievement on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.

Eychaner Awards

The Eychaner Award is presented annually to recognize individuals affiliated with NIU who have made outstanding contributions that enhance the lives of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBTQ+).

Sponsored by the Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (PCSOGI), Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and Prism, the Eychaner Award is presented in two categories: one recognizing the contributions made by an NIU student and one recognizing the contributions of a faculty or staff member or an NIU alumni.

The presentation of the Eychaner Award serves as an opportunity to:

  • Recognize and encourage the leadership, dedication and commitment of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to social justice and equality on behalf of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender.
  • Honor and celebrate the goal of creating a society which accepts and values people who are LGBTQ+.
  • Make individuals' positive contributions to the LGBTQ+ community visible to the wider community.
  • Recognize achievements and contributions which might otherwise go unnoticed.

  • Persons who have been affiliated with Northern Illinois University for two or more years, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, are eligible for nomination in the appropriate category.
  • Individuals nominated should have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions for the betterment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, either locally, regionally or nationally.
  • Nominations for co-recipients within a category will be considered only when the nominees’ contributions were made as part of a collaborative or team effort, indicating that the nominees jointly accomplished the achievement for which they are nominated.

Nominations for this award must be made by a member of the operating staff, supportive professional staff, faculty, student body or alumni. Nomination deadline is Friday, April 9, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. A complete nomination must include:

  • Nomination form.
  • Letter of nomination.
  • One additional letter of support (two total letters: the nomination letter and letter of support will be considered; these letters do not have to be written by individuals affiliated with NIU.

Leadership and service considered for nomination may be in the form of, but not limited to, areas such as:

  • Serving in leadership positions in organizations serving the LGBTQ+ community.
  • initiating and/or implementing cultural or educational programming, or workshops, trainings or seminars.
  • Serving as an advocate on issues of importance to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Performing outreach activities to heterosexual allies on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Serving as a mentor or advisor to LGBTQ+ or heterosexual ally students, peers or colleagues.
  • Publishing literary or scholarly works on topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Developing courses or teaching in a manner inclusive of LGBTQ+ history and experience.

A selection committee drawn from the membership of PCSOGI and Prism will review nominations. Dependent on the number and quality of nominations, it is the intention of PCSOGI and Prism to present two awards each year: one award recognizing the contributions of an NIU student and one award recognizing the contributions of an NIU faculty or staff member or an NIU alumni.

Selection will be made on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated leadership and service on behalf of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer+, either locally, regionally or nationally.
  • Leadership and service over a period of time.
  • Efforts beyond expectations and work responsibilities.
  • Achieving results and effecting positive change on behalf of people who are LGBTQ+.


Year Recipient Category
1995 Howard and Milly Eychaner
1996 Carl Schmidt Alumnus
Guy Maita Alumnus
Steve Berg Alumnus
Dennis McMullen (awarded posthumously) Alumnus
1997 Nordon Gilbert Staff
Sara Gray Student
1998 Margie Cook Staff
Jeanne Meyer Student
1999 Cordelia Parham Alumna
Mike Grandys Student
2000 Darsha Primich Staff
Adam Loredo Student
2001 Charles Schumann Staff
Rod Moore Student
2002 Rev. Rita Root Staff
Mary Shelden Student
2003 Gary Judd Alumnus
Louise Steeves Student
2004 Robert Ridinger Faculty
Karen Frost Student
2005 Diana L. Swanson Faculty
Wayne Wilkinson Student
2006 Victoria Graff Alumna
Kristen Scheurich Student
2007 Patricia Ridge Faculty
Andrea Drott Student
2008 Amy Levin Faculty
Scott Pickett Student
2009 John Butler Alumnus
Joshua Adair Student
2010 Debbie Smith Shank Faculty
Megan Armstrong Student
2011 Kristen Myers Faculty
Michelle Costigan Student
2012 Sue Willis Faculty
Meredith Frederich Student
2013 Patricia Liberty-Baczek Staff
Bethany Hill Student
2014 Toni Tollerud Faculty
Romero Jackson Student
2015 Molly B. Holmes Staff
Kyle Urbashich Student
2016 Katrina Caldwell Staff
Matthew Lonski Student
2017 Christian Lash Staff
Margaret Hitchcock Student
2018 Amanda H. Littauer Faculty
Gabriel Sonntag Student
2019 Katy Jaekel Faculty
Kaiser Student
2020 Lisa C. Freeman Faculty
NIU Dream Action Student

The Eychaner Award is presented annually at the Pride Awards Dinner in April. Please see our events page of the Pride Awards Dinner.

Eychaner Award Nomination Form


Joseph Harry Endowed Scholarship

The Joseph Harry Endowed Scholarship provides tuition scholarships to undergraduate students who have participated in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-spectrum (LGBTQ+) organizations or activities.

The endowment for the Joseph Harry Scholarship Program was established through the generosity of Dr. Joseph Harry, who taught in the NIU Department of Sociology from 1977 to 1998. During that period he did considerable research in the area of then-called gay studies and was also the faculty advisor for several years to NIU's LGBTQ+ student organization, then called the Gay/Lesbian Union (now known as Prism).

  • Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of financial need, scholarly performance and academic standing.
  • Scholarships are awarded for one year.
  • Scholarships may be renewable for a second year at the discretion of the scholarship committee if the student maintains satisfactory academic standing (a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all NIU credit earned and of 2.0 in the major).
  • Scholarships shall be awarded on the basis of merit without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, immigration status, political affiliation or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, as defined by university policy.

To be eligible for the Joseph Harry Scholarship, applicants must:

  • be junior or senior undergraduate students (as defined by credit hours) at Northern Illinois University during the academic year for which the scholarship is awarded
  • have financial need,
  • demonstrate satisfactory academic standing (a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale as computed by NIU standards) at the time of application for the scholarship,
  • demonstrate satisfactory scholarly performance. Indicators of scholarly performance might include but are not limited to, such things as participation in academic, scholarly or professional organizations; participation in undergraduate research opportunities; enrollment in honors courses; election to honor societies; receipt of academic awards or honors; application of academic lessons in intentional experiences outside the classroom.

  • Scholarship application materials will be handled confidentially and will be seen only by the faculty and staff members of the scholarship committee and those professional staff members of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center who have a role in handling the documents.
  • The words gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or LGBTQ+ do not appear on any of the financial forms where the scholarship is listed, so it is possible to keep the nature of the award confidential if you are selected as a recipient and decide to do so.

  • To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must apply through the NIU MyScholarship application system.
  • A supplemented statement on LGBTQ+ leadership/involvement within the application system.
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty/staff member submitted through the application system.

  • All applications will be reviewed by the Scholarship Committee.
  • All applicants will receive notification of selection results during the spring semester.

Please direct any questions about the Joseph Harry Scholarship to:

Chair, Scholarship Committee
Gender and Sexuality Resource Center
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
gsrc@niu.edu
815-753-4772

Contact Us

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center
105 Normal Road
DeKalb, IL 60115
815-753-4772
gsrc@niu.edu

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