Anna Burton and David Doerfert have been recognized by the Texas Tech Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement for demonstrating meritorious effort toward improving diversity and inclusivity at Texas Tech University and in the City of Lubbock.
Texas Tech University's Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement has recognized two Red Raiders for their allyship with the 2020 Ted Jim Dotts Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Ally of the Year Award: Anna Burton, assistant director for Student Leadership Development in University Student Housing, and David Doerfert, professor of agricultural education and communications and associate dean of the Graduate School.
"Selecting the recipients for The Rev. Ted Jim Dotts Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Ally of the Year Award is something we look forward to with much excitement each spring," said Jody Randall, director of the Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement. "Anna and Dr. Doerfert exemplify the standard set by the Dotts in their journey to recognize, learn and stand with the LGBTQIA community at Texas Tech and in Lubbock. As Pride Month comes to an end, the work to raise awareness and bring about change when it is needed has two more leaders committed to allyship."
The Rev. Ted Jim Dotts Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts, along with a small group of compassionate community leaders, co-founded the Lubbock Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1993. Since then, the organization has served countless people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) community. Following the compassion and humility shown by the Dotts and many others, this honor is given annually to one faculty and one staff member who work to increase awareness of issues affecting LGBTQIA individuals through education, organizing and advocacy at Texas Tech and in the City of Lubbock.
Burton and Doerfert's names will be added to a plaque that is displayed in the Center for Campus Life.
Burton has served in Texas Tech's University Student Housing for the past two years and oversees the department's social justice education efforts. Working with student leaders and other Housing staff, she coordinates initiatives to provide awareness, education and engagement opportunities for students. Some of these initiatives include the Tunnel of Awareness in the fall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and the annual drag show in the spring and social-justice trainings for students and staff throughout the year.
She also serves on several planning committees and volunteers with various departmental initiatives, like the Big 12 LGBTQIA & Allies Summit and Diversity Week, and recently participated as a panelist for the virtual IGNITE! Faculty and Staff Panel: Supporting LGBTQIA Students event. She said she was surprised, honored and excited to be named an Ally of the Year.
"I am honored to be able to serve as an ally and welcomed in the spaces and lives of the students and committees here at Texas Tech," Burton said. "It feels awesome to be recognized, and I am even more energized to continue the work that is needed to support, grow, educate, gather, celebrate and build relationships to create necessary change for our amazing students here at Texas Tech. I believe there is so much more I can learn and do and ways I can support and serve our students. I'm looking forward to continuing the work."
Since July 2002, Doerfert has served in multiple roles within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) before becoming associate dean of the Graduate School in January 2016.
He said when initially informed that he would be receiving the Ally of the Year award, he was both stunned and humbled. Of his efforts at the university, Doerfert said he is most proud to have worked closely with Randall to realize Texas Tech's initial participation with the Cultivating Change Summit in June 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
"We presented a session titled 'Moving Beyond Complacency: Strengthening and Sustaining LGBTQIA Inclusivity' to a room that was standing-room only," Doerfert said. "I could not have been prouder of Texas Tech and grateful for the support of the Graduate School and CASNR for making our attendance possible. Beyond my desire to help all students grow and realize their dreams and career aspirations, I seek to create opportunities and remove barriers for all students.
"This is a tremendous honor and I will continue to do my best to be worthy of this recognition. I hope others will become active to support LGBTQIA programming and efforts, as well as help individuals find their voices and opportunities to succeed."