Hampshire College, a small liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, has a gay president, Ralph Hexter. On Tuesday, Hexter announced to a roomful of faculty and staff members that he and his partner of 27 years, Manfred Kollmeier, had just done something “[they] could only do in Massachusetts.”
The room erupted in applause.
Inside Higher Ed reports: “When they arrived at Hampshire, Kollmeier was welcomed (and put to work) in similar ways to many a presidential spouse. He was included in the press releases and official biography, he accompanies Hexter to many events, and at fund raising dinners, ‘he can be the head of a table just as I do when we’ve got more than one table of guests,’ and he ‘works the room and represents me,’ Hexter said. ‘I could not do the job without him.’ (Kollmeier is retired after a career in real estate and home renovation.) Given the role they have already played as a couple, Hexter said he didn’t anticipate that marriage would change anything in terms of the extent to which the couple works on behalf of the college. But he said getting married — and announcing it Tuesday (the wedding itself was small and private) — were important things to do. ‘We feel that we have a very precious right. We are fortunate to live in Massachusetts and in the Five College area where people are so welcoming,’ Hexter said. ‘We’re celebrating the visionary boldness of Massachusetts and Hampshire College for being an accepting and warm place.’ A party for students is scheduled for today. Hexter also said it was important for others to see gay people in long-term, loving relationships, as opposed to judging gay people by ‘a Republican senator who shall go unnamed and the sorry display of so many people in that case.'”
Kudos to the pres. for educating by example, and congrats to the happy couple.
And here’s a factoid: Hexter is one of 11 openly gay college presidents.
A Gay President Says ‘I Do’ [inside higher education]