Hackettstown, N.J., September 18, 2017 – Abraham Rexrode ’18, a Centenary senior and a resident of Phillipsburg, was awarded the Rainbow Scholarship from Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley (PrideGLV) recently.
Rexrode, who is an English: Creative Writing student, was recommended by two of his professors – Dr. Sharon Decker, Associate Professor of English and Chair of the English and Foreign Languages Department, and Dr. Robert Battistini, Associate Professor of English, for the leadership role that he has taken in the Centenary community.
“From the moment he set foot on Centenary’s campus, he quickly moved up the ranks in numerous clubs and organizations,” says Dr. Decker. “Abe fit in seamlessly in the English Department, motivating students to get involved, and – more importantly –encouraging people to broaden their perspectives.”
Rexrode is the Editor-in-Chief of the school literary magazine, Prism and oversees RW (Reading/Writing), Centenary’s student-led creative writing group. He is also the co-host of the WNTI.ORG broadcast show titled Lines & Lyrics. He is also an active member of I Am, a group on campus that explores issues of LGBTQ+ rights and awareness. In addition, he is a member of the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.
He gave a talk at the LGBTQ+ coalition at Lafayette College entitled “TRANSforming Art: Life as a TRANS Artist.” He read a collection of his poems about being transgender titled “Creating a Man” at the Sigma Tau Delta’s National Conference in Louisville. At that conference, he won Honorable Mention in the Original Poetry category. This fall, he will be presenting at the Mid-Atlantic LGBTQ Conference about the subject of gender inclusive housing. He has engaged English faculty in discussions regarding being sensitive to each person’s gender identity when referring to the proper use of pronouns in papers and discussions.
After Rexrode finishes his undergraduate degree at Centenary, he would like to earn a graduate degree in Creative Writing. It is his goal to do what he loves as a career, which is to teach writing to undergraduate students.
“I am so pleased to be recognized in this manner by the Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley,” says Rexrode. “I feel like I have made strides in promoting awareness regarding LGBTQ issues on the Centenary campus and beyond. The time here at Centenary has been one of growth for me. The professors are such high quality. They are supportive, approachable and are accomplished and talented. Centenary has been such a great fit for me!”
Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley (PrideGLV) is dedicated to building safe and inclusive communities. In 2003, PrideGLV created new programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth and their supportive friends. As organizers, Liz Sherry, Constance Kristofik, and Brad Wentz reflected on their lives as gay teens in the Lehigh Valley, they sought to encourage academic achievement, build self-esteem and provide positive reinforcement for queer youth. With assistance from Carson Kressley, Eastern PA PFLAG, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley, educator Rachel Zane and other community leaders, the first Rainbow Scholarship award was awarded in June 2005. The scholarship amounts intend to increase as community involvement grows.
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.
Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County). The Centenary School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, online, as well as corporate sites throughout New Jersey.