Former NFL Commissioner Paul J. Tagliabue and his wife, Chandler Tagliabue, have donated $1 million to Georgetown University for the creation of a new program to assist LGBT students.
In a statement released on Oct. 26, the university said the gift will establish the Tagliabue Initiative for LGBT Life: Fostering Formation and Transformation, which will be overseen by Georgetown University’s LGBTQ Resource Center.
The LGBTQ Resource Center, the first such center at a Catholic university, opened on the Georgetown campus in 2008.
“The Center is inspired by Catholic and Jesuit principles of respect for the dignity of all and education of the whole person, and we are very pleased to support its services that provide a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for LGBTQ students and promote their acceptance in the entire campus community,” the Tagliabues said in the statement.
The $1 million gift for the LGBT student life initiative is part of an overall $5 million donation the Tagliabues made to Georgetown University that will fund other university programs such as undergraduate scholarships, including athletic scholarships.
Sivagami Shiva Subbaraman, director of Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center, called the Tagliabues’ gift “exciting and wonderful news” and said it would have a beneficial impact on LGBT-related programs and centers at colleges across the country, especially other religious institutions.
“To have someone of Paul Tagliabue’s stature and reputation make this commitment is a huge validation and endorsement of the necessity, value, and importance of the work we do,” Subbaraman told the Blade. “Paul and Chan’s generosity – their courage and vision – sets an incredible example of the importance of our allies,” she said. “Given his stature in the world of athletics, this is even more powerful.”
Subbaraman said that similar to the LGBTQ Center’s current programs, the new initiative funded by the Tagliabues will operate under the supervision of the university’s Vice President of Student Affairs. She said the center’s work is carried out “consistent with, observant of, Jesuit values and principles of education” and in collaboration with the university’s Office of Mission and Ministry.
She said details of the new initiative will be worked out over the next several months but that she envisions “some form of a hybrid academic/student life program.”
In collaboration with their gay son, Drew Tagliabue, Paul and Chan Tagliabue have also been supportive of the organization Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), according to PFLAG officials. Liz Owen, communications director for PFLAG’s national office in Washington, said the Metro D.C. PFLAG chapter honored the Tagliabues in 2009 with its Spotlight Award recognizing their support for the group.