News Honorary degree citation - John Scagliotti
In your preeminent role as an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, television producer and radio broadcaster, you have adroitly challenged audiences with the depth and significance of human realities. For more than three decades you have dedicated your career to celebrating the role of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the events that have shaped modern culture.
You grew up as a young man under the specter of censorship regarding anything even perceived to be gay in mainstream media, and then set out to fix that. You have said, "I sat in horror watching my first reference to homosexuality in public, even though I was secretly happy that there might be someone like me out there."
After receiving your Master of Fine Arts from New York University's Graduate School of Film and Television in 1983, you produced the first documentary on gay and lesbian issues ever to receive major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Before Stonewall: A History of The Making of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America went on to win two Emmy Awards and first place at the prestigious FILMEX film festival in Los Angeles.
You created and became executive producer of In the Life, the first gay and lesbian national series on PBS, which began in 1991 on only six stations and is now, 20 years later, carried by more than one hundred. This historic program's growth is due to your artistry and vision, emphasizing the importance of the gay community's contribution to culture, politics and entertainment in America.
Through your mastery of radio and film, from The Lavender Hour to Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, you have opened our eyes to the continuing struggles and profound influence of the LGBT community both here and abroad. You said, "The gay community touches every aspect of contemporary life, influencing styles, attitudes and the arts."
As the administrator of the Kopkind Colony in nearby Guilford, a living memorial to your late partner, journalist Andrew Kopkind, you support the arts both locally and nationally through residencies, independent filmmaker seminars and film festivals.
Though your life and work, you have consistently demonstrated that each of us is an individual beyond any definition of "identity politics." John Scagliotti, it is our pleasure to confer upon you the degree: Doctor of Humane Letters.