Mann named director of LGBT CenterPublished: July 02, 2018
William J. Mann ’84, awarding-winning biographer, historian, and LGBTQ activist, has been hired as the new director of Central Connecticut State University’s LGBT Center and will join the History Department as a full-time faculty member.
Mann, whose books include Tinseltown (winner of the 2015 Edgar Award for Best True Crime) and The Wars of the Roosevelts (2016), earned a B.S. in history from CCSU in 1984.
“I am very pleased to have someone of William Mann’s stature and experience join the Central family. His new position will unite his academic work with the critical mission of our LGBT Center and the unique GLBTQ Archive housed in the University’s Burritt Library,” CCSU President Zulma R. Toro explains. “Under his leadership, the LGBT Center will expand and thrive as a critical resource in helping our students acquire the knowledge and develop the beliefs and approaches for valuing our differences as human beings.”
Katherine Hermes, professor and chair of the History Department, notes, "When students go online to look up the top 10 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities, they are almost always directed to private liberal arts colleges. President Toro and her administration recognize that LGBTQ students need affordable, public higher education options.”
According to Hermes, “Under President Toro’s leadership, the University instituted an annual Rainbow Breakfast to celebrate the community and, now, she is making sure that students coming to campus have LGBT-content courses, a well-staffed LGBT Center, and an active scholarly community as well.”
For the past several years, Mann has been teaching courses on LGBT history and popular culture on a part-time basis. He will continue teaching as a full-time faculty member in the History Department and a member of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program. He also plans to work with the English Department to develop more interdisciplinary, LGBT-themed courses. During the fall semester he will teach a course on the history of AIDS and a public history project focused on uncovering mysteries in CCSU’s GLBTQ archive.
Mann says he hopes to raise the profile of CCSU as a welcoming, affirming institution.
“Central has an opportunity to become a hub for LGBT culture and scholarship throughout the region. There’s real excitement here among LGBT and allied students about the possibilities. The message we hope to send is that you don’t have to go to an exclusive, private college to find a focus on LGBT history and achievement.”
In addition to courses and supportive programming, CCSU also provides gender inclusive housing in the residence halls. LGBT students can either apply directly through the online placement system or can meet confidentially with residence staff to determine the best available housing options for their needs.
The university also offers the Richard S. Spada and Robert G. Childers Scholarship supporting students who identify with the LGBTQ community and who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity.
Mann has been active in the local and national LGBTQ activist and literary communities since his graduation from CCSU and from Wesleyan University, where he earned his master’s degree. His earliest experience as a writer began in Hartford in the 1980s. Since then he has written 14 books, many of which consider the LGBT experience in some way.