University News

WIU Alum Creates Supporting LGBTQA+ Leathernecks Scholarship

April 18, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University alum Molly Holmes' biggest motivator for starting a new scholarship for LGBT*QA students at WIU is so students know they are valued and they matter.

Holmes, a queer-identified 2001 teacher education/health education graduate and 2004 College Student Personnel graduate, is the director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at Northern Illinois University. In her role as director, she advocates for equity for all genders and sexual identities at NIU and within the surrounding area. Within the last academic year alone, she has developed over 20 tailored, department-specific trainings on LGBTQA+ inclusion and gender equity and has presented at two national conferences.

As a student at WIU, Holmes was a peer health educator through Beu Health Center, a member of Unity and an assistant complex director in University Housing and Dining Services.
"Western was pivotal in my development both as a student and as a professional due in part to mentors who valued me as a person, inclusive of my sexuality and gender," Holmes said. "I want everyone to have that experience and have it at Western."

Holmes has established the Supporting LGBTQA+ Leathernecks Scholarship, which will be awarded each fall to an LGBT*QA student at Western. The scholarship is open to students who identify as LGBTQA+, are in good academic standing and who demonstrate financial need. Full details on the application and selection process are available from the LGBT*QA Resource Center.

Holmes hopes the upcoming Western Challenge, which takes place on April 24 - Purple & Gold Day - will create visibility for this scholarship and will give it additional momentum to help more students, create awareness and uplift current LGBT*QA students.

"In times when enrollment is down across the state, this is an opportunity for the University to show support for underrepresented identities and show that Western is a place where everybody is welcome and valued," she added. "LGBTQA+ students count and matter to the Western community."

During the Western Challenge, individuals who wish to contribute to the new Supporting LGBTQA+ Leatherneck Scholarship can visit and select Supporting LGBTQA+ Leatherneck Scholarship.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations