Published 05/15/12

LGBTQ advocate earns praise

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (May 15, 2012) — Be it hereby known that Jonathan DeCosta's four years of advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning community at Bryant haven't gone without notice.

On May 10, the R.I. House of Representatives issued a citation praising DeCosta's efforts as president of Bryant Pride to bring an LGBTQ resource center and gender-neutral housing to campus.

The citation reads, in part:

"Be it hereby known to all that: The Rhode Island House of Representatives hereby offers its sincerest congratulations to Jonathan DeCosta in recognition of your dedication and passion to improving the wellbeing of the LGBTQ community at Bryant University. The entire membership extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses the hope for continued good fortune."

The citation was signed by Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox, Majority Leader Nicholas A. Mattiello and Rep. Frank Ferri, a Bryant alumnus who represents Warwick-District 22 and who proposed the citation after being interviewed earlier in the week by DeCosta and Sara Elder '13, the incoming president of Bryant Pride.

"I consider myself fortunate to be an openly gay legislator," said Ferri, who graduated from Bryant in 1976 with a BSBA in accounting. "As an alumnus, I am emotionally moved" by the work of faculty and students to help Bryant become "open and accepting to all students regardless of their sexual orientation. Jonathan is an inspiration and a leader whom I admire and am thankful to."

"It is really encouraging to know that I have been able to make a difference on campus and in people's lives," said DeCosta, who will graduate May 19 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. He credited his achievements to friends, faculty and staff who "enabled me to have the courage to fight for equality on campus. Professor Judith McDonnell, who founded Bryant Pride, and all the previous student leaders in Bryant Pride laid the groundwork for my success," which DeCosta defined as "my ability to change people's lives for the better. If I can leave here knowing that I have made just one person more comfortable with who they are then I have been successful. ... Bryant will forever serve as a powerful reminder that I can make a difference-that my voice can be a bold force in the world."

In the fall, DeCosta, of Lynn, MA, begins graduate studies in advertising at Boston University.