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Hardegree Honored With LGBT+ Awareness Award

Posted April 27, 2017

AustinHardegree Austin Hardegree, a fourth-year veterinary student in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), has been recognized for his contributions in supporting and ensuring inclusivity in academia with one of the Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association’s (BSVSA) 2017 LGBT+ Veterinary Awareness Awards.

Hardegree is among the six vet med students, faculty members, or industry partners from across the country selected for the second annual awards, which were presented in April to those who demonstrate commitment to Broad Spectrum's mission by developing awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and its importance within the realm of veterinary education and practice.

Hardegree—who helped establish the CVM’s Broad Spectrum chapter by serving first as secretary and later as president for the national organization—was recognized by the BSVSA for “his amazing leadership as president of Broad Spectrum” and “his tireless work on TAMU Broad Spectrum and VOICE campus activities.”

“He stood up, led, and helped create an inclusive environment at TAMU which has rippled across North American colleges of veterinary medicine,” the national organization said in a press release. “Leadership does start in veterinary school too.”

"We are really proud of the work that Austin and our entire Broad Spectrum organization are accomplishing,” said Dr. Kenita Rogers, CVM executive associate dean. "There is nothing more important that creating a learning and working environment that is welcoming to everyone, regardless of how you identify, where you are from, what your goals are, and what makes you truly unique and valuable. We want everyone—students, staff, faculty, and guests—to feel like they are a part of this remarkable college team. Each and every person makes us better."

The award also recognized Hardegree for his leadership during the 2017 Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium, for which he served as the chair of diversity and wellness and organized several programs.

“It feels great to have been selected for this award,” Hardegree said. “It means that I’m doing something right, at least when it comes to diversity within veterinary medicine. As I move forward in my professional life, I can continue to lead by example and advocate for diversity in our field.”

Founded in 2011 at the SAVMA Symposium at the University of California, Davis, the national Broad Spectrum organization stemmed from the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA), a similar club that focuses more on professional veterinary medicine.

“Veterinarians are seen as leaders,” Hardegree said. “I think that we, in all aspects of our lives, should strive to be the best we can be. Creating a positive environment is really what matters.”

Neither group could be successful without the support of CVM faculty and staff, and especially Drs. Karen Cornell and Rogers, two national advisers for the LGVMA and faculty advisers for the National Broad Spectrum.

“The CVM administration has done a good job of making sure that all students, no matter their background, feel welcome,” Hardegree said.

Read more about Hardegree in the next edition of CVM Today.

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