LGBT+ Burnside Watstein Award

Burnside Watstein 2017-cropped


2017 Burnside Watstein Award Celebration

The annual Burnside Watstein Award ceremony was held October 3, 2017. This year's winners are:

  • Tommy Otterbine, faculty and assistant director for Structured Sports and Outreach Programming
  • Lee Biggs, Communication Arts major
  • George Kelly, assistant director of Business and Personnel Services at VCU Residential Life and Housing.

The Burnside Watstein Award, now in its 12th year, honors the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual people and our allies here at Virginia Commonwealth University. The award is named for the first two LGBT subcommittee chairs, Sarah Watstein and Chris Burnside.

In the spring of 2006, the LGBT Subcommittee, now known as Equality VCU, launched the award to recognize those who worked to enrich the lives of VCU LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty. The first Burnside Watstein recipients were recognized in the Spring of 2007. The first awards ceremony was held at the Honors College with funding provided by the Provost Office and a donation from Mike Fuller. Three awards were made that first year: one to a recent graduate, one to a faculty member, and one to an alumni. Over the years, the awards ceremony has quickly outgrown various spaces on campus. With strong support from the president’s office, the provost’s office, the Division of Inclusive Excellence, and the Division of Student Affairs, the Burnside Watstein award has become a well-recognized symbol of the ongoing efforts to improve the VCU climate for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty.

For additional information contact Camilla Hill at: 804.828.6672, or Kate Schmitz at: 804.828.9856.

Read about the history of the Gay Alliance of Students’ two-year legal battle to win official recognition by VCU