Sam Marcosson, left, with Brian Buford, director of the UofL LGBT Center
Sam Marcosson, left, with Brian Buford, director of the UofL LGBT Center

Sam Marcosson, professor in the UofL Brandeis School of Law, was named the LGBT Center’s the 2015 Faculty/Staff Ally Award winner Oct. 1 during the Pride Week keynote address.

Marcosson has been a faculty member since 1996, and in that time founded one of the university’s first LGBT student groups, the Lambda Law Caucus.  His research and writing has concentrated on constitutional law (especially the Fourteenth Amendment), and the civil rights issues facing LGBT people. He has served on the board of directors of the National Lesbian and Gay Legal Association and currently serves on the Co­ordinating Committee of the Fairness Campaign, Louisville’s long-standing LGBT civil rights organization.

Former student Rebecca O’Neil submitted one of multiple nominations for her former professor. “Sometimes I think Sam is unaware of his own incredible impact on students. I think he doesn’t know how to be anything other than the brilliant, caring, wildly intelligent teacher that he is. He is not in academia because it is a comfortable or status career – he does what he does because he truly believes in his students and their ability to make our community and our country a better place.”  Christopher McDavid agreed. “He lifts us all up in what he does.  I am hard-pressed to think of a better ally than my teacher, my colleague, and my friend.”

Marcosson was surprised to be honored. “I am so grateful, and flattered, to receive the Ally Award.  As a teacher, my reward comes in seeing the work our students do when they put their training and talents to use to make a difference.”

The LGBT Center introduced the award in 2008 to honor the work of faculty and staff who have helped create an environment of inclusion for LGBT people.  Candidates for the award can include any UofL faculty or staff member—LGBT, straight/cisgender, questioning, or those whose orientation/gender identity is unknown—who is making positive decisions and speaking for LGBT people at U of L. Past winners include:

2008    Provost Shirley Willihganz and Vice Provost Mordean Taylor-Archer

2009    Nancy Theriot and Julie Onnembo

2010    Michael Anthony

2011    George Howe

2012    Michelle Clemons

2013    David Wiegman

2014    Laine Lopez