When he first learned that he was the recipient of The MarcDavid LGBTQ scholarship, Michael Busza was ecstatic.
He immediately ran to everyone in the Temple Office of Orientation where he works, and told them he had won the scholarship. The highlight of that moment was when he went into the hallway and called his mother to tell her that he had just won, he said.
“I went outside and called my mom, she was so excited she started crying,” Busza, a communications and English major, said. “My parents have been so supportive. They’re wonderful.”
Busza had found about the scholarship when news about it was sent over the university’s listserv. His advisers and bosses from the Orientation Office all urged him to apply.
“Just the fact that I was thought of was flattering,” Busza said. “They talk about being Temple Made, but think about all the people who build you up. That’s been my experience.”
Valued at $5,000, the MarcDavid LGBTQ Scholarship was created to recognize a student’s efforts to further the inclusion of the LGBTQ community at Temple.
Last year, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs Andrea Seiss explained the process of developing the scholarship, which was announced during National Coming Out Week in October, to The Temple News.
“Institutional Advancement brought it to us and said that they had somebody who wanted to donate money to this and we collaborated with them,” Seiss told TTN in October 2012. “Our goal was to have it out by the fall so that it could be ready for the spring.”
“The fact that it even exists is that much of an honor to me,” Busza said. “Let alone the fact that I won. How many universities have a gay scholarship? How many universities recognize and support the LGBT community?”
Busza said winning the scholarship has helped him focus a little more on “One of the Guys” a “passion project” of his that will debut on Feb. 19 on the show’s website.
“It’s my magnum opus,” Busza said. “I’m really excited to work on it. ‘One of the Guys’ is Temple’s first full-length Web series, full length in that we’re 22 to 28 minutes.”
What had started as a class assignment, “One of the Guys” is a roommate sitcom about three gay friends and their open-minded, laid-back, straight sub-let.
The show examines the relationship between gay and straight men that, Busza added, has not been done on television before.
“As the public opinion on gay rights progresses for the better, the relationship between gay and straight men is stronger and much more prevalent,” Busza said. “It’s a relationship that isn’t examined enough on television. It’s a friendship that definitely exists and a friendship that is dynamic and out there and that’s something I’m definitely excited to be sharing.”
The university’s interim senior vice president for Institutional Advancement said in a statement that the award shows how important a scholarship can be.
“An award like this shows the direct impact that scholarships can make,” Tilghman Moyer said in the statement. “In this case, the donor, who wished for the gift to be anonymous, was sensitive to the discrimination that the LGBTQ community often encounters, and wanted to support a student who faces that challenge head on. That donor’s drive to advocate for a marginalized community led to this inspiring scholarship.”
Busza added how Temple has made some really huge steps toward LGBT advocacy and he said the MarcDavid Scholarship is empowering and inspiring.
“Just the fact that Temple has a scholarship for my community, for the LGBT community makes me think that my voice is heard and that my project matters,” Busza said. “And this is a story that people are interested in that the university supports. That I have a voice and that I matter.”
Dominique Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.