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U-M Spectrum Center celebrates 50 years

Credit: Spectrum Center

Public Relations guru, Howard Bragman, has created a million-dollar “coming out” fund to open support centers on all three University of Michigan campuses.

His gift celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Spectrum Center, the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ college support center.

Growing up in Flint, in the 1960s, without a lot of peers or role models to look to, Howard Bragman never quite fit in.

"I was gay and I knew I was gay from a fairly early age. I was pretty fat growing up. I was Jewish in a town that wasn't particularly Jewish... and I felt a bit like a Martian," says, Bragman.

However, when Bragman attended college, he was able to find resources and a community that supported him.

"Even in 1975 the system worked and the system worked for me," says, Bragman. "I cant imagine if the system hadn't worked for me where I would be today."

The Spectrum Center is the nation’s first LGBTQIA+ support center to be formed on a college campus and to make sure the center will continue providing support and guidance to the LGBTQIA+ community, Bragman gifted a one million dollar fund. The fund will be used to provide emergency financial assistance to students through the spectrum center, including help for mental and physical health services, short-term housing, long-term housing, transportation, and tuition.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the University of Michigan Marching band dedicated a halftime performance to the Spectrum Center.

Dyanna Bateman, an LGBTQIA+ identifying student, tells me how special the Spectrum Center is for her and her journey.

"I come from a rural area in Georgia where the LGBTQIA+ community wasn't really talked about. So as someone who identifies as Bi, finding out about Howard and his fund for the Spectrum Center, I was really able to find a community that supports me," says, Bateman. "I think its more important that the Spectrum Center continues to be a model for other college campuses to open up inclusive centers and to have the right message and resources and for their students"