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John Butler

Josh Adair
Joshua Adair

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News Release

Contact: Margie Cook, (815) 753-2235
Norden Gilbert, (815) 753-8365

April 24, 2009

Butler, Adair receive Eychaner Award
for outstanding contributions
to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community

DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees member 
John Butler and doctoral student Joshua Adair are the 2009 recipients of the 15th annual Eychaner Award. Established in 1995, the Eychaner Award recognizes individuals affiliated with NIU who have made outstanding contributions to social justice and equality on behalf of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

The award is presented in two categories, one recognizing the contributions made by an NIU student and one recognizing the contributions of a faculty or staff member or an NIU alumnus/a. The award will be presented Thursday, April 30, at the 15th Annual Pride Awards Dinner.

The Eychaner Award is given in honor of Milly and Howard Eychaner, members of the DeKalb community who were outspoken advocates on social justice issues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. Milly Eychaner was an alumna of NIU, having earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 1948.

Butler is being recognized for his long-time advocacy for equal rights for the LGBT community, spanning his NIU career as a student, faculty member and now as a trustee. One nominator commented, “DeKalb and Northern Illinois University would not be the supportive places they are today without John’s work. Again and again, John has combined his skills as a teacher and an advocate to further social justice.”

Another nominator wrote, “As a former NIU student, I wish that all NIU faculty members would wed their strengths and talents to their convictions in the way that John has; his skill and expertise in advocacy, scholarship and teaching have already had a profound and lasting impact on NIU’s campus, in the larger DeKalb community, and beyond.”

The 2009 student Eychaner Award recognizes Joshua Adair, a graduate student completing his Ph.D. in English and soon moving on to a faculty position at Murray State University in Kentucky. 

Adair has contributed significantly to the development of NIU’s LGBT Studies Program, having taught classes, served as graduate assistant, organized scholarly events and promoted the certificate program to students. He has also published scholarly work on gay literature and explored the topic in his dissertation.

His work was acknowledged by a nominator who wrote, “the effects of his contributions will last long after he graduates in May.” Another commented, “I have repeatedly been impressed with his awareness of the issues in LGBT scholarship, his unswerving commitment to enriching and improving the life of all LGBT students at Northern Illinois University, and his thoughtful approach to the challenges of building and maintaining a new program of academic study and research. These factors in combination make him one of the most dynamic graduate students I have had the chance to work with.”

The Eychaner Award is sponsored by NIU’s Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and student organization Prism.

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