The Center was opened in the fall of 1992. It was staffed by a part-time graduate assistant working 20 hours per week. At that time, the office was called the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Student Services (LGBSS) and the mission was to “develop programs and services to better the campus climate for LGB students” and to “coordinate efforts to retain LGB students at ISU”. In the fall of 1996, the LGBSS expanded its name to better reflect the services and outreach to students who identify under the transgender umbrella, renaming the office Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Services (LGBTSS). In the summer of 2017, after more than a decade, the office expanded its name, mission, and vision to better reflect the range of student identities and became the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.
In 1997, administrators in the Dean of Students office recognized the need for more resources to support the Center and began lobbying for the office to be staffed full-time by a professional. Since then, the office continued under the leadership of graduate assistants who collaborated with student leaders, staff and faculty to improve the services and programs offered--including the expansion of the Speaker’s Bureau and creation of the Small Victories Celebration, Lavender Graduation, and a Safe Zone Program.
In fall 2008, the first full-time professional staff member was hired to coordinate the Center. This was followed in Fall 2010 by the expansion of the Center to offer a more student friendly space full of resources for the campus community. These changes have provided consistency in service, support, and leadership in campus initiatives and programming. It also ensures that the Center space will continue to be a welcoming, safe space on campus for students to explore their identities, receive support and be better equipped to succeed at Iowa State.
If you have more information to contribute to the history of the Center or LGBTQIA+ initiatives at Iowa State, please contact us. If you are a student and interested in LGBTQIA+ history, please consider applying for a volunteer, internship, or practicum experience to help research LGBTQIA+ history at Iowa State via our VIP program.