Standing Out

By Megan Ondrizek

Standing Out

By Megan Ondrizek
UPride’s Jacob Rudolph has plenty to be proud of.

Jacob RudolphJacob Rudolph understands the power of media. When a video of him coming out to more than 300 classmates at a high school awards assembly went viral, he didn’t shy away from the limelight. Instead, the teen from Parsippany, New Jersey, got busy, sharing his story of truth and acceptance via television, radio, and newspaper outlets around the nation.

“Because of all the support I had from friends, family, and coworkers, I was inspired to be the best youth advocate I could be,” says Rudolph.

A year later he was making headlines again—this time at the University of Miami. As outreach chair for UPride, the undergraduate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organization then known as SpectrUM, Rudolph helped bring actor and activist George Takei—Sulu from the original Star Trek series—to speak on campus.

In the spring of 2014, Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship granting organization for LGBT students of merit, selected Rudolph from a pool of more than 2,100 Point Foundation applicants to be the 2014 Rim-Freeman Point Scholar for his demonstrated excellence in LGBT leadership. This makes him UM’s first student ever to receive an award from the foundation, which is devoted to empowering LGBT students.

“Through Point Foun-dation, I hope to do all that I can to continue giving young people a voice in our society and enable others to live the lives they love,” says Rudolph. “The University of Miami has truly become a second home to me, and I cannot wait to use my status as a Point Scholar to continue to improve life on campus by making it a more diverse and accepting place.”

Over the summer, Rudolph attended the Point Scholar and Alumni Leadership Conference, which honored Brooklyn Nets basketball player Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in professional sports. He also interned with the national advocacy organization GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).

Now a sophomore majoring in public advocacy at the School of Communication, Rudolph is eager to share what he’s learned by serving as president of the newly named UPride. He and his executive board say the
name change will enable the organization to live up to what they see as its full potential and impact. 

“We had to evolve and be more visible because when you are visible, that’s how you start to effect change,” says Rudolph. “By fostering pride through education, advocacy, awareness, support, and involvement, we can create a campus that accepts all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”