FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — Two former Hood College professors have created a first-of-its-kind scholarship for students who identify as LGBTQ+.
Karen Klisch and Anne Simonsen have given the college $100,000 to establish an annual scholarship for first generation students who identify as female and are either people of color or a person who identifies with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual.
“I am a strong advocate of education. And the other thing is, of course, equality and justice. I’m a great social justice advocate and that is primarily focused on the LGBTQ community,” said Klisch.
According to a press release, Klisch taught in Hood’s Department of Physical Education for more than 40 years after arriving in 1965. She retired in 1999 as professor emerita and moved on to a 20-year career as a professor in the Graduate School of Management and Technology for the University of Maryland University College.
Simonsen taught in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation for eight years at Hood. She left the college in 1987 and began a 24-year career at Gallaudet University retiring as a full professor and the Director of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Major.
Klisch and Simsonsen met during their tenure at Hood College and years later, they married. Now reflecting on what they want to leave as their legacy, Klisch suggested creating a scholarship at the college. Simonsen joined in.
“One of the things about the scholarship that we wanted it to go to a first-generation college student and for both of us that was very important because we were first-generation college students,” Simsonsen explained.
According to Hood College, 30 percent of the undergraduate population is made up of first-generation students and 38 percent of those students identify as non-Caucasian.