A scholarship designed to reward the promotion and acceptance of gays and lesbians in the Boston area has named Harvard junior Steven M. Goodreau '94 one of two winners of its first annual prize.
Goodreau, who will accept his award in a formal presentation on April 28, is active in the Harvard-Radcliffe Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Student Association.
He also serves as director of the Harvard-Radcliffe chapter of Amnesty International, which includes among its causes the liberation of homosexuals imprisoned on account of their sexual orientation.
The $2,500 award is offered by the Pride in Scholarship Fund, which was created last year by the 700-member Greater Boston Business Council, an organization of local gay and lesbian business and professional people.
The prize is available to gay, lesbian and heterosexual students committed to promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and homosexuals.
"Far be it from us to ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference," said Jeffrey D. Mulliken, president of the business association. "We've been discriminated against for too long."
According to Wynne C. Walston, vice chair and spokesperson of the scholarship fund, recipients must exhibit academic excellence, a commitment to diversity, and dedication to being "active in the gay and lesbian community or on its behalf."
Walston said students attending college within a 30-mile radius of Boston are eligible to compete for the scholarship.
Goodreau said he was "amazed and excited" when he found out the scholarship existed. "It's a wonderful way to promote activism in the gay community," he said.
Goodreau also praised the business group for its efforts to "show [gay and lesbian] students that there's a larger community that's interested
Walston said the scholarship is part of the committee's efforts "to make life better for gays and lesbians, and to make them part of main-stream society."
"We want to show the outside world that gays and lesbians are very accomplished individuals," he said, adding that he hopes other groups will follow suit. "We want to be at the forefront--we want everybody to follow our lead."
The Business Council itself took its example from the Greater Seattle Business Association, which sponsors a similar scholarship, according to Walston.
Walston said that the scholarship will be awarded annually. "The goal is to raise an endowment of $250,000," he said.
The Business Council's first step toward that goal will be a black-tie benefit at the Institute of Contemporary Art next month.
The other half of the $2.500 prize went to a junior at Wellesley College