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Purdue benefits from Kane’s move

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07


Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION

After five years of serving as program coordinator for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center at Texas A&M University, founding member Lowell Kane will step down from his position in order to pursue other challenges at Purdue University in Indiana.

Kane is no stranger to GLBT advocacy work. Scattered across his office walls, lined with pop art and historical artifacts of the GLBT movement, are numerous awards and certificates, all relating to work done for the GLBT community.

“Part of the natural evolution and part of the natural continued growth for this space requires my departure at some point,” Kane said.

He began his GLBT advocacy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook — his alma mater — in 2001. Kane said growing up gay and knowing the experience that young people have in challenging areas inspired him to become the advocate he is today. His work at Texas A&M resulted in the establishment of the GLBT Resource Center, the first of its kind at a public institution in Texas. He was named program coordinator in 2007.

“When the opportunity to be here at Texas A&M and to do [advocacy] work arose, it was a natural fit and I was very excited to actually be in the right place at the right time,” Kane said.

The decision to leave was the hardest professional decision he said he ever made, and he will miss the place he has grown to love during his time as a student and a staff member.

“The students at Texas A&M are just amazing; this community is phenomenal,” Kane said. “The connections that I’ve been able to establish here have been really wonderful, personally and professionally. I will miss those the most, and particularly my students.”

Andrew Jancaric, vice president of GLBT Aggies, said Kane will always be remembered for the relationships he developed with his students.

“Lowell Kane has been a mentor to me, a leader to the Texas A&M LGBT community, and a strong advocate for all students,” Jancaric said. “His departure is a great loss for Texas A&M that is only softened by the continuing impact his legacy will have on this University.”

While at Texas A&M, Kane received several awards, including the Diversity Service Award and the Phyllis R. Frye Advocacy Award. During his time as program coordinator, the campus climate toward the GLBT community improved, according to the LGBT-Friendly  Campus Climate Index.

“It’s a good thing [campus climate is improving] because knowing that people of all types are accepted here is good for prospective students,” said Sarah Byargeon, senior sociology major.

Kane said someone will fill his position by the fall semester.

“The community feels stronger, more resilient,” Kane said. “They are unbelievably prepared for this departure and for any change that is coming, because the center is more than one person, the center is going to persist.”

Kane said he is eager to begin his work in Purdue, which is similar to A&M both in academics and climate toward the GLBT community. Purdue doesn’t have a GLBT resource center or full-time staff to do this kind of advocacy work — much like A&M in 2007.

“I did it here, and I know that I can do it there,” Kane said. “In fact, I’m going to be more informed because I’ve had five years of wonderful experience here at Texas A&M that I’m going bring with me to Purdue.”


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