Harvard University announced the formation of the first endowed and named chair of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) studies in the nation last week. The F.O. Matthiessen Visiting Professorship of Gender and Sexuality will be funded by a $1.5 million gift from the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, reported the New York Times. The Chair is named after gay former Harvard professor F.O. Matthiessen, who, according to the university, “lived his sexuality as an ‘open secret’ in the mid-20th century” and produced groundbreaking scholarship in American Studies.
Mitchell Adams, Harvard Overseer, said in a press release: “this is an extraordinary moment in Harvard’s history and in the history of this rapidly emerging field…And because of Harvard’s leadership in academia and the world, this gift will foster continued progress toward a more inclusive society.”
Candace Gingrich of the Human Rights Campaign told Reuters: “Any time a university as renowned as Harvard feels it is important and sees it is important to have an endowed professorship in LGBT studies is recognition that it is an important issue.”