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Dr. Louise Young, a 1969 graduate of East Central University, will deliver a lecture titled "Why Talk About It? Addressing GLBT Issues" at 7 p.m. Monday [MARCH 30] in the Estep Multimedia Center in ECU's University Center.

A reception sponsored by the Human Diversity Committee in honor of Young and Women's History Month will be held at 6 p.m. in the University Center. Women from the Ada community are invited to attend.

The Louise Young Diversity Lecture was established in 2008 with a $10,000 endowment from Young to the ECU Foundation Inc. The annual lecture will bring a speaker to campus each year to speak on various aspects of diversity. This year's lecture is also an official ECU Centennial event.

Young is a 1965 graduate of Ada High School. She received a degree in geography from ECU and earned a master's degree in 1970 from the University of Colorado in Boulder. There she met Vivienne Armstrong, with whom she formed a civil union in 2000 in Vermont and legally married in 2008 in California.

Young returned to ECU in 1970 and served on the faculty of the Geography Department. In 1974, she co-taught a class on homosexuality, the first such class taught in an Oklahoma college or university. When her contract was not renewed, she returned to the University of Colorado where she earned her Ph.D. in 1975.

Young's career and advocacy in the infant gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT)-rights movement have moved along the same upward trajectory. She was hired by Texas Instruments, where she worked on the technical staff of TI's Ecological Services, and later became a software engineer in its defense segment.

She also pursued national advocacy of gay rights, joining the national board of what would become the Human Rights Campaign, one of the strongest GLBT groups working today, and garnering national awards.

In 1997, Texas Instruments' defense segment was sold to Raytheon and Young transitioned to become a senior software engineer. She has over 30 years' experience with these companies, and was instrumental in urging both of them to support GLBT and sexual expression issues in their equal employment opportunity statements and to cover domestic partner benefits.

In 2001, Raytheon's GLBTA Employee Resource Group created the Louise Young Award and Young was its first recipient. In December 2006, Young was featured in a Fortune Magazine article explaining that 263 of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partner benefits.

In 2008, the ECU Foundation Inc. invited her to consider reconnecting with her alma mater.

"After learning about the ECU Gay-Straight Alliance and the increased tolerance of diversity on campus, she and her partner Vivienne decided maybe the time had come to give ECU another chance," said Dr. Christine Pappas, faculty adviser of ECU's Gay-Straight Alliance.

For more information about the event, contact Pappas at 580-559-5640 or

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