LGBT center to open at Community College of Philadelphia 

At a two-day conference on LGBT issues this week at Community College of Philadelphia, school officials announced another forthcoming LGBT initiative: its first LGBT center.

Plans are underway for the launch of the MarcDavid LGBTQ Center. The space will be located in the Winnet Student Life Building and will officially open its doors with the hiring of the center’s coordinator. Officials began circulating a job posting for the position last week and also shared it with participants at the Oct. 5-6 “Acting on Diversity: LGBTQ and Community Colleges” conference on campus.

Gregory Murphy, vice president of advancement at CCP, said representatives of the Marc David Foundation — which supports LGBT-focused scholarships at a number of local schools — approached CCP several years ago about funding an LGBT scholarship program. That connection paved the way for the creation of the center. 

“The donors came to a scholarship meet-and-greet and they asked if we have ever had an LGBT center, and we haven’t,” Murphy said. “David Green, who was the assistant director of student affairs at the time, started talking with them about the possibility of opening a center and it all just worked out from there.”

Murphy said school officials were interested in an LGBT space that was “fully integrated.”

“It’s not somewhere off campus; it’s right alongside all of the other student services,” he said about the new space, which will sit caddy-corner to the Women’s Center.

The building is also home to the Center for Male Engagement, several student clubs, a new student-driven food pantry for homeless and food-insecure students and an assembly room. 

“It’s in the hub of campus activity,” Murphy said. 

The center will house the coordinator’s office, a conference room, another conference area for smaller meetings and a lounge that will offer reading materials, resources and a computer.

Murphy said the school’s LGBT student group and a number of faculty will be involved with the center’s rollout. 

“Like so many things, the services will be dependent on the strength of the person who comes into the position,” Murphy said about the coordinator role. “It was an interesting job description to put together because we didn’t want it to be entirely focused on the higher-ed world to the point that we eliminated a lot of candidates. We wanted to leave it wide open so we could take a look at a broad spectrum of people.” 

Once it opens, Murphy said he envisions the center will host student meetings, support groups and other programs.

Just a handful of local colleges and universities have physical LGBT centers on campus, such as University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Kutztown University. Having a strong support system for LGBT and ally students is key to CCP’s mission, Murphy noted. 

“Everything here comes right back to our core of providing accessible, high-quality education and contributing to student success,” he said. “For us, this center is another way to support people while they’re here to help get them successfully to graduation. And as with any school, we struggle with funding for programs, so to have this donor step up to do this is just magic.”

To view the job description for the center coordinator, visit https://jobs.ccp.edu/postings/2841.