By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
WICHITA - WSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has selected Brad Thomison for the newly created LGBTQ Coordinator position. Thomison is no stranger to WSU. He graduated with honors from WSU in 2009 with a bachelor’s in music education. Since then, he has remained closely affiliated with various university programs and offices.
He served as the Alumni Adviser for Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies for five years and has worked with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff on previous events. “My career adventure has included working as the Executive Director of a non-profit organization, international IT project management, which took me to numerous countries around Europe, owning a few small businesses, and working across multiple industries from education, human resources, and health care to food service and entertainment,” he says.
Danielle Johnson, the assistant director of the ODI, says that the LGBTQ Coordinator position was created due to the strong advocacy for the role by many entities across campus. During the selection process, Johnson says they were looking for someone with experience working with the LGBTQ community, specifically college students, who can continue coalition building with the Greater Wichita community. They found this experience in Thomison.
In this role, Thomison’s primary focus will be to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ students, which will involve educational programs, campaigns on campus, enacting policy changes, mentoring LGBTQ students, and improving recruitment and retention of LGBTQ students.
Thomison will serve as a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community and will serve as a centralized support system for the university’s LGBTQ students and allies. The addition of Thomison as LGBTQ Coordinator will allow the ODI to enhance programming and training efforts. “There will be more options for training and representation on university committees designed to support students and work in partnership with other university diversity efforts,” Johnson says.
Rexy Que, president of the Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies group at WSU, was on the search committee for the position. Que is excited for Thomison to provide mentorship to students, support LGBTQ initiatives, and help create opportunities to make the campus more inclusive. Additionally, Que says the LGBTQ Coordinator will help increase the number of LGBTQ applicants as well as increase the group’s retention and graduation. Que plans to work with Thomison to help Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies flourish.
Thomison is excited as well for this next step in his career. “As a WSU alum, and Gore Scholar, I have dreamed of being able to work at Wichita State in this type of position,” he says. “I consider it a great honor to be selected for this opportunity, and I am excited to serve the campus community.”
He is most excited about working with LGBTQ students and allies to help grow the community and navigate the fun, challenging, and formative years they spend at the university. “I had a great experience at WSU when I was a student, in great part because of the supportive faculty and staff that I worked with who encouraged me to boldly be myself and challenged me to always learn and grow,” Thomison says. “I am excited to be one of these voices for this generation of Shockers, and the many more that will follow.” l