Feeling the Connection
Dr. William A. Meezan '67 says when he was at UVM back in ‘60s, "first of all, there was no such thing as gay, certainly no safe place on campus, and nobody identified that way." But as he's reconnected with the University in recent years, he says, he sees that things have really changed.
Meezan was invited to give the keynote address at the LGBTQA Center's Rainbow Graduation ceremony in the spring of 2012, and he says it's no exaggeration to say that experience was "a highlight of my life." More than 300 people turned out for that event.
Meezan retired this year as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service. Previously he served as director of policy and research at Children's Rights, a national advocacy group working to protest abused and neglected children. He earned his doctorate from Columbia University.
Meezan and his husband, W. Michael Brittenback, have recently decided to show their appreciation of the work of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Advocate Center at UVM by making a provision in their will to endow a Meezan/Brittenback Fund for the LGBTQA Center. The main goals of the fund are to provide emergency financial assistance for students at risk of having to leave the University due to their financial circumstances; to establish new activities and services at the LGBTQA Center; and to enhance the Center's current activities and services.
A strong supporter of the University and its mission, Meezan is enthusiastic about the leadership of President Tom Sullivan, whom he describes as "realistic but ambitious" about his plans for UVM. "He knows what he has and the gem it can become as long as he doesn't change the core essence of that university. And that's very rare for a university president."
Dot Brauer, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning & Advocate Center, said when she learned of Bill and Michael's estate intention, she was overwhelmed. "The impact of Bill and Michael's gift will be profound on this office," Brauer says. "It will double our operating budget."
Meezan received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from UVM at the May, 2013, commencement ceremony, and he is a member of the UVM Foundation Leadership Council. "My days at UVM were wonderful," he reflects. "I've always felt a connection back there."