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University of Miami student Jacob Rudolph, who came out in high school video, a 2014 Point scholar

Jacob Rudolph, a 19-year-old University of Miami sophomore who came out in early 2013 at a high school awards assembly, has been named a 2014 Point Foundation scholar.

“This scholarship and the title that comes with it will put me in the position where I might be viewed as more legitimate, in terms of my status as an advocate,” said Rudolph, who believes some are “dismissive” of younger activists.

“It’s hard to convince people that you mean business when your age betrays that,” Rudolph said.

The scholarship will help Rudolph finish UM. “I absolutely love it there. My first year was a total success,” he said

“The financial award I am getting from this, my family can definitely use that, he said. “I can’t’ tell you what I personally received, but the average award is $10,000.”

Here’s the UM news release:

Coral Gables, Fla. (June 23, 2014) – Just months before moving to South Florida to attend the University of Miami, Jacob Rudolph was making headlines. A video of him publicly coming out to more than 300 classmates at a school assembly had gone viral, and he was making the rounds on television networks, radio stations and newspaper interviews. One year later, he’s making news again.

On June 19, Point Foundation announced its 23 newest scholarship recipients. Point is the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students; many of whom have faced obstacles such as bullying and financial hardship. The foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential and make a significant impact on society. Among those receiving financial assistance and programmatic support for the 2014-2015 academic year was Rudolph – UM’s first Point Scholar.

“I am so honored to have been selected as a Point Foundation Scholar,” Rudolph said. “The application process was grueling and very competitive. Just the idea that this would have such an immense impact on my education and advocacy work meant so much to me, and because of all the support I had from friends, family, and coworkers, I was always inspired to be the best youth advocate I could be.”

Rudolph, a 19-year-old Communication Studies major focusing on Public Advocacy, is the 2014 Rim-Freeman Point Scholar. The Rim Freeman Point Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the LGBT community.

“I am thrilled that as a sophomore, Jacob has been honored with the Point Foundation scholarship,” said Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, UM’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “As the first Point scholarship recipient at UM, Jacob’s leadership and advocacy efforts of the LGBTQ community have been notable. I look forward to working with him in the upcoming academic year.”

As a Point Scholar, Rudolph must maintain a high level of academic performance and give back to the LGBTQ and allied community through the completion of an individual community service project each year.

“Everyone who was selected as a Point Scholar deserves this honor and I am thrilled to be in such extraordinary company,” he said. “Through Point Foundation, 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. 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.”

As the outreach chair for the LGBTQ group SpectrUM last year, Rudolph was instrumental in bringing actor and activist George Takei to UM’s Student Activities Center for “An Evening with George Takei.” Rudolph, who is also involved with Student Government and Multicultural Student Affairs, is now president of SpectrUM, and is already planning programming for when he returns to UM as a sophomore in August.

“One of the things I’d like to focus on is visibility,” Rudolph said of his plans for SpectrUM. “This year, I want to focus on the advocacy aspect of the organization. I hope to set up some collaborations with local community organizations, including SAVE, and even build up to become involved with a national youth advocacy movement. With new initiatives in terms of programming and people we want to bring to campus, we’re looking to network within the local community to build partnerships and sponsorships.”

Originally from Parsippany, New Jersey, Rudolph is spending his summer as a communications and public relations intern with GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization. He hopes to get SpectrUM involved with the new local chapter GLAAD plans to open in Miami.

“I'm so proud of Jacob in achieving this honor. He has been an extraordinary leader and role model for the LGBTQ community within just his first year at the University of Miami,” said Andrew D. Wiemer, Director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership and advisor to SpectrUM. “It will be a great year ahead as he begins to advocate further for the LGBTQ students at the university and further develop SpectrUM's involvement within the greater Miami community.”

Rudolph will join his peer Point Scholars and Alumni next month for the annual Scholar & Alumni Leadership Conference. At the conference leadership dinner, Jason Collins – the first openly gay athlete in professional sports – will receive the Point Leadership Award. Point Foundation awarded its first scholarships in 2002 and has since invested more than $15 million in support of its scholars, selecting this year’s scholars from a pool of more than 2,100 applicants.


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