2002 Honoree, 1951-2000
When Jim Chalgren founded the LGBT Center in 1977 as the Alternative Lifestyles office, it was only the second such center at a U.S. university. At that time, Jim was a graduate student in the Counseling and Student Personnel program. He was a maverick whose tireless efforts to challenge prejudice, educate students and fight for change built the foundation for the vibrant presence the LGBT Center ultimately established on campus and in the community.
Jim went on to live a heroic life as an activist, garnering state and national attention. Eventually, he left the University but continued to push for gay rights despite battling AIDS. Sadly, Jim’s life ended in 2000, but his spirit continues to inspire and motivate young activists at MSU and in the Mankato community. He will always be remembered as a visible, “out” and courageous supporter of the LGBT Mankato community and the LGBT Center.
In November of 2008, the MSU LGBT Center was renamed in Jim’s honor, The Jim Chalgren LGBT Center. The naming of The Jim Chalgren LGBT Center honors the spirit of Jim and others who paved the path for us to live safely, find community and be proud of ourselves. In 2002, SCMN Pride, gratefully acknowledged the legacy of Jim Chalgren at the first ever Mankato Pridefest.