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GCEF presents Paul Daum Award to Ken Ditlevson

Ken Ditlevson
Ken Ditlevson

Each year, the Gay Community Endowment Fund recognizes an individual, business or organization that has actively supported the LGBTQ+ community with its Paul Daum Award.

The award, which is named for a founding donor of the fund and a professor of theater at the University of Akron, honors those who have demonstrated a significant commitment to LGBTQ+ causes and whose involvement has benefited the Greater Akron community at large.

In 2018, the Gay Community Endowment Fund presented the award to Ken Ditlevson, the first director of Kent State University's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Student Center. Ditlevson accepted the award at the fund's annual meeting on April 19.

As director of the LGBTQ Student Center, Ditlevson provides leadership on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. He also advances equality for LGBTQ students through programs, training, support services and community outreach collaborations.

"I have an opportunity to do many different things, including working with students, faculty, staff and community members, while also providing strategic direction to the Center as we work to make Kent the most inclusive place possible for marginalized genders and sexual orientations," Ditlevson says in his faculty profile.

In addition to his work at Kent State, Ditlevson served on the board of the Akron Pride Center for five years and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2009. He has received awards for his innovative programming, including the Trailblazer Award from the Summit County Mental Health Board and the Louis D. Kacalieff, M.D. Award from Child Guidance and Family Solutions.

Created in 2016, the Paul Daum Award was first presented to Eric Jones of Jones Group Interiors, a cornerstone member of GCEF. The award pays tribute to Paul Daum's generous estate gift to the Gay Community Endowment Fund, which left a legacy that will forever meet the needs of Greater Akron's LGBTQ+ community.

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