LGBT Center Director Erin Cross will leave her position on June 5 after more than two decades at Penn.
Vice Provost for University Life Hikaru Kozuma announced the news in an email to University Life employees on May 25. Cross previously worked as a program coordinator and senior associate director at the LGBT center and became its director in 2017, replacing the center's first director Bob Schoenberg.
In the announcement, Kozuma highlighted Cross’ significant impact on the Penn community and her ability to uplift marginalized voices.
"Erin [Cross] has served as a voice for those who didn’t feel they had one; she has served as a support for countless many who needed someone, and she has served as a collaborative partner who left an indelible mark through her work," Kozuma said. "Words cannot fully capture or convey the effect she has had on our community."
Cross, a 2010 graduate of the Graduate School of Education, served as an adjunct assistant professor at GSE from 2019 to 2022. She also led several initiatives centered on equality and social justice, both within the Penn community and beyond.
In recognition of her work, Cross was honored as a Model of Excellence, Penn’s most prestigious staff award, four times throughout her time with the University.
LGBT Center Associate Director Malik Muhammad emphasized the lasting influence of Cross’ time and work at Penn.
“As a mentor, advisor, educator, and steadfast champion for LGBTQ+ communities, Director Erin Cross is leaving an indelible mark of true leadership and wisdom here at the Center and well beyond," Muhammad said. "We could not be more grateful for the decades of compassionate and unwavering service she has provided our community."
He also noted the personal relationships that those affiliated with the LGBT Center and the wider Penn community have built with Cross over the years.
“As only our second ever director, Erin's legacy is one that will not soon be forgotten," Muhammad said. "Words cannot fully encompass the love and appreciation we have for Erin, so we embody them through the LGBT Center's motto: you belong!"
In light of Cross’ impending departure, Kozuma announced that University Life will begin a national search for a new LGBT Center director.