Paving the Way
How one donor’s future commitment will become a platform for change.
For Lyndon Searfoss ’64, becoming a member of the George Morris Philips Society achieved his goal of advocacy for the LGBTQA community and created the opportunity to support WCU students for generations to come through the Lyndon W. Searfoss ’64 and Ernest L. Cofrances, III Endowment.
Using philanthropy as an avenue to champion the cause made sense to Lyndon. His college years fell during a time when the LGBTQA rights movement had not been recognized nationally — the first formal University student group to support LGBTQA rights was established in the mid-1970s. Later, he heard updates from campus regarding students within the LGBTQA community who were homeless and in need of food and supplies, trying to make it through college — that sparked his interest in giving back.
“When I saw years ago that a program coordinator was hired to help gay students on campus, that was an investment,” he says. “That step showed leadership from the top down — leadership that effected change on a campus. It spoke to what WCU could become in the future”.
So to ensure program support and advocacy could continue, Lyndon decided to include the University in his estate plans. The resulting endowment will support WCU programs like workshops, performances, and speakers; emergency relief for students; and faculty research that, he hopes, will elevate the issues facing the LGBTQA campus community.
“If you are going to truly make a big impact,” Lyndon says, you need to create a way forward to make that impact beyond the University community.”
Lyndon Searfoss '64
George Morris Philips Society Member
“If you are going to truly make a big impact, you need to create a way forward to make that impact beyond the University community.”
Baker Family LGBTQA Scholarship Recipient Highlight
Zaire Cuspud ’21
A psychology major with a minor in women’s and gender studies, Zaire hopes to enter the fields of human resources and employee relations. Educating others is what he’s passionate about, and as a recipient of the Bob Baker Award, he’s doing just that.
“I advocate for my community and provide an inclusive, diverse, and accepting space wherever I am,” he says. “Coming from my background, having financial stability is hard. This scholarship allows me to focus on school and provides me with the tools and techniques to be successful.” The Bob Baker Award is given to a student leader of the executive board of a student group who has demonstrated leadership and a desire to make a difference in the world. Zaire is president of the student-run club SAGA, Sexuality and Gender Alliance.
In addition to working as a peer educator at WCU’s Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy, Zaire serves as the Sexuality & Gender Equity Senator on the Student Government Association, the Publicity Chair of the Psychology Club, and is a brother of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity.