Celebrating the 2020 Lavender Awards
ALBANY, N.Y. (June 8, 2020) — Since 2009, the University at Albany has celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, asexual and allied faculty, staff, and students for their work in promoting LGBTQ+ equity with its annual Lavender Awards. This year, Rockefeller College’s Director of Undergraduate Student Services Zakhar Berkovich, BA ’08, MS ’10 and alumnus David A. Rozen, Esq. '07 were among the 2020 honorees.
As an active member of the campus community, Zakhar Berkovich received the OUT-Standing Faculty or Staff Award for his leadership that promotes understanding, and inspires others to improve the climate for the LGBTQ+ campus community.
“I am so humbled and honored to receive the OUT-Standing Faculty or Staff Award. This is one of the most important awards I have received in my professional career,” said Berkovich. “I stand on the shoulders of such giants like Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, and so many more. I thank them for the opportunity to be out and helping students feel proud and comfortable with who they are.
“Thank you to my mentors, supervisors, and peers — you help me to be the best person I can be,” added Berkovich. “Also, thanks to my partner John Samatulski for supporting me in my career path. Congratulations to my fellow awardees!"
David A. Rozen, Esq. '07 was honored with the Harvey Milk Alumnus Award. Named after one of UAlbany’s most famous alums, Harvey Milk '51 was a civil rights icon and first openly gay man elected to a public office. The award is given annually to an alum who upon leaving the University has made substantial contributions to social justice issues in their work and/or community involvement. Rozen has been active throughout his career protecting civil liberties and civil rights, and currently serves as the Deputy General Counsel at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
“Like many LGBTQ+ folks growing into adulthood in a homophobic society, I was not comfortable in my own skin — nor out during my UAlbany experience,” shared Rozen. “Having never attended a Lavender Celebration during my time at UAlbany, it means the world to me to be honored with this award — showing just how far I have come and how much Harvey Milk’s legacy has taught me about leading change for a better world. Specifically: be authentic/be yourself; take risks; build relationships across lines of difference; understand history; and spread hope.”
The Lavender Awards celebration is organized by the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, the Gender & Sexuality Concerns Office within Student Association, the UAlbany LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, and the Division of Student Affairs with the support of the Office of the President.