It is with a heavy heart that I write to all of you regarding the loss of a tremendous ally and advocate for diversity and LGBTQ inclusion, Ed Burgess. As one of our colleagues wrote, " It is a huge loss for UWM, PSOA, the Dance community, [the LGBT communities] and all who knew him...or will never get the chance to." I want to encourage folks to attend the memorial service tomorrow, Friday 5/13 at 1pm in the UWM Main Stage Theater or post on the blogspot (see the compiled information below from PSOA Dance Department student/faculty member, Interim Provost, and PSOA Dean).
From my perspective, Ed was an active and valued participant in the LGBT community and in diversity initiatives on campus. Ed was a treasured member of the UWM Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBT Issues from September 2006-August 2010, he volunteered to serve as Chair of the Committee from September 2007-August 2008 while a colleague was on a medical leave of absence. Additionally, during his committee tenure Ed invested time in working on initiatives such as pursuing an update to the UWM domestic partner benefits prior to UW System affording these options to all UW System employees, assisting with respectfully submitting monthly meeting minutes, and drafting various letters of recognition, advocacy for gender inclusive facilities in the campus master planning process as well as notes of gratitude for strong allies to the work of the committee. Ed served on the Search and Screen Committee for the Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Climate who was hired in 2007 and in turn he had significant involvement in the Diversity Leadership Council work related to the 2008 Campus Climate Survey.
I would like to make sure that the UWM Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBT Issues acknowledges this incredible loss as he was instrumental in moving visible initiatives around campus climate utilizing the performing arts. Most recently he did this with bringing Richard Move to campus in Fall 2010 which was a part of his work on the PSOA year long theme of Gender & Sexuality. To this end Ed was an active instigator and collaborator with other LGBT organizations namely the Milwaukee LGBT Film & Video Festival and UWM LGBT Resource Center. We feel as if a member of our "family" has departed and left us with a legacy of advocacy, visibility and passion for life!
Jennifer Murray, Director
UW-Milwaukee Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center
Office of Student Life
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd, Union WG-89
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
UWM: LGBT Resource Center