It has been 30 years since Ron Holt II, DO (COM ’93), graduated from Kansas City University (KCU). Society has taken great strides in progressiveness in those past 30 years, and Holt has made a major contribution to solidify those changes within the University.
“As a KCU student, I led a closeted life, unable to live my life as an openly proud gay man. The University didn't have the type of resources or support currently available. I, therefore, want to be the role model I wish I had, so unconditionally supporting LGBTQ+ students is the best medicine I can offer,” said Holt.
As a part of that unconditional support, Holt established the first scholarship specifically for LGBTQ+ students attending KCU. The scholarship, named the “Ronald R. Holt II DO, LGBTQ Scholarship” will support students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, ally, queer or questioning. This is also the first annual, non-endowed scholarship offered at KCU.
“Many marginalized and disenfranchised groups are overlooked within medicine, hence the importance of a scholarship recognizing and embracing the sexual and gender diversity within our student body. Acknowledging a deserving student for their LGBTQ+ advocacy nourishes my soul,” he explained.
Holt said he was incredibly honored to work with KCU Alumni Relations to establish the scholarship as this type of recognition aligns with KCU's mission of improving the well-being of the communities we serve. He explained that he would like the scholarship to be a message to KCU LGBTQ+ students and their allies that we see them, care about them, and want to support them.
“Hopefully, each recipient will pay it forward and help future student physicians who follow in their footsteps of advocacy and social justice,” said Holt. “My parting message is I want all LGBTQ+ students to know they are not alone; they are loved and that I am there for them. Our best-lived life is authenticity, so living our truth is the most significant gift we can give everyone we encounter. I aim to help students navigate their path to authenticity through support.”
Students may learn more about the scholarship by speaking with admissions. KCU is committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community and providing resources for our entire campus. Students are encouraged to reach out to Student Advocates for Equality Education (SAFEE). SAFEE seeks to provide meaningful educational opportunities and exposure to LGBTQ+- related issues in medicine.