The academy has long been richly blessed with LGBT folk, both in and out of the closet – faculty, staff, and administrators. Among them have been closeted college and university presidents, whose personal lives have not been public.
In recent years, there has been a new phenomenon: out LGBT presidents in US Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education first noted three gay presidents, in August 2007.
Shortly thereafter, other sitting LGBT presidents who had not been acknowledged in the original article, came forward (suddenly there were eight), and the concept of a sufficient critical mass of out presidents to form an organization was articulated.
Informally, the network grew, out presidents found one another and the circle expanded to include not only college and university presidents but presidents of other higher education institutions/organizations as well.
By 2010 – three years after the first article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, these numbers had grown to twenty five women and men, all of whom (together with partners) were invited to a meeting that summer in Chicago, hosted by Roosevelt University and the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Nine presidents and five partners attended. They decided to form a new organization LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education with the committee Partners of Presidents (POP) as a formal part of the structure.
Those in attendance decided to work in groups on such areas as mission, governance, organizational partnerships and web presence/ communications and to meet again in Los Angeles in November 2010, hosted this time by Antioch University Los Angeles. Seven presidents and three partners attended the Los Angeles meeting.