Four informal portraits of the speakers

Panel: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Spurlock Museum presents the panel discussion Looking Back, Looking Forward. The discussion is held in honor of the 26th anniversary of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Resource Center at the University of Illinois (external link). The Center’s mission is to foster an environment that is open, safe and inclusive for people of all sexualities and gender identities. Panel members, including former directors/alumnae, the current director, and representatives from the Uniting Pride Center of Champaign County, discuss the history and evolution of the center and the challenges and opportunities of LGBTQ activism on the University campus and in the community.

This event is part of the Spurlock’s Third Thursday Series highlighting people, places, and events in University history.

Panel Members

Leslie K Morrow

Leslie is the current director of the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is also a PhD candidate in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at UIUC with a concentration in social and cultural studies, minors in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies. She is invested in social justice, building coalitions, and intersectional work both on- and off-campus in an effort to eradicate the many –isms that currently plague our society and in particular the always already marginalized. Her research interests examine queerness as it intersects with race, ethnicity, and gender specifically examining queer gender non-normative women of color educators (especially Black and Brown folx) namely, how they experience their identities in relation to their work and how we survive and thrive.

Curt McKay

Curt served as Codirector or director of what is now the LGBT Resource Center from 1999 until his retirement in 2008.  He was its first fulltime director beginning in 2005. During his tenure, students twice planned and delivered the Midwest LGBTA College Conference; they added the A for ally to the conference name. Curt also served as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at  the UIUC School of Information Sciences for 16 years.  He earned a BA degree in psychology and an MAT in teaching at Rockford College and an MS in library and information science at UIUC, where he also came out as gay at 42, after 20 years as a public school teacher.  He currently is treasurer of the Rockford PFLAG chapter, a member of the Illinois Alumni Association Board of Advisors, and a board member of the Friends of the Rockford Public Library.

Pat Morey

Before retiring after a quarter-century of service to the University, Patricia Morey was Assistant Dean of Students and the Director of the UIUC Women’s Resource Center. Prior to this position, she worked with the Women’s Center of Champaign and was the Director of Rape Crisis Services for seven years. Pat received her degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois in 1980 and later earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Throughout her tenure, as both a student and a faculty member of the University of Illinois, Pat Morey has been an activist and advocate for the right of Women and LGBT rights. Her life has been dedicated to women's and LGBT equality, safety, and education.

William Blanchard

William is joining the panel as a member-at-large of the Uniting Pride Center of Champaign County. As "the gay kid" at a rural high school, William learned firsthand the value of programs and services that specifically help LGBTQ individuals. William moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2002 to attend the University of Illinois and has stuck around ever since. His experiences in the community include serving as Co-Chairperson of the Champaign County chapter of Equal Marriage Illinois, Assistant Director of the Spring 2007 Illinois LGBT College Conference, Coordinator and Fundraising Chair for the 60-person University of Illinois delegation to the 2011 Midwestern Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Ally Collegiate Conference, and the Director of several National Coming Out Day celebrations and Day of Silence celebrations. He was also privileged to help rebuild the University of Illinois LGBT Speakers Panel program and the PRIDE student organization. William has two rabbits, Bobbi and Ted, who are kind enough to let him crash at the apartment that he rents for them.

Images courtesy of the speakers.

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For further information on this event, contact Beth Watkins at (217) 265-5485 or

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at (217) 244-5586 or (email link).