Mark your calendars now! The 2024 USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Scholarship Gala will be held Saturday, April 6, at a place TBD. Join us to celebrate our legacy at USC and recognize the achievements and service of extraordinary LGBTQ+ Trojans. Check back for more details soon. We look forward to seeing you next spring!
USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Alumni Association Recognition Award (LAARA)
2023 Legacy Award Honoree
Donald Gabard MS ’78, MPA ’88, PhD ’90
Founder and Former President, USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Alumni Association
Donald Gabard is the founder and former president of the USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Alumni Association. A triple USC alumnus and longtime champion of LGBTQ+ causes, he worked with university leaders and founding USC Lambda board members to create what has become the home of our LGBTQ+ Trojan Family. In addition, he served as co-president of USC Lambda during its first two years—a time of exponential growth for the organization, both in terms of membership and programming.
During his tenure as co-president, USC Lambda hosted its first Homecoming reception, as well as its inaugural Scholarship Awards dinner. Gabard’s exemplary leadership and tireless efforts laid a solid foundation for the USC Lambda of today: a dynamic alumni organization that fosters community, awards scholarships to deserving LGBTQ+ and allied USC students, and promotes education and increased visibility for LGBTQ+ Trojans.
A North Carolina native, Gabard graduated from USC with a master’s degree in physical therapy in 1978; he later returned to earn his master’s and doctorate in public policy. His specialty area in physical therapy was pediatrics, and he was among the first in L.A. to treat pediatric AIDS patients. Gabard also treated adults with AIDS who were refused service by other providers.
In 1987, Gabard participated in the founding of Caring For Babies With AIDS, as both a program designer and one of the organization’s first providers, pro bono. Based in Culver City, California, this nonprofit was the first pediatric AIDS hospice in the western United States. He later authored the concept paper for AIDS In-Home Care Training Programs, which was funded and implemented by the City of Los Angeles in 1988. That same year, he won the Samuel C. May National Research Award from the Western Government Research Association for his work in AIDS research. In 1994, Gabard was both a panelist and featured speaker at the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the intersection of ethics in sexual orientation and human genome investigations. Over a 20-year span, he served as a medical ethicist on three hospital ethics committees simultaneously, often safeguarding the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2011, Gabard founded By Your Side, a volunteer-based program providing end-of-life support for patients at LAC+USC Medical Center. The program, through funding from the Archstone Foundation, was widely disseminated to hospitals.
A 1996 recipient of a USC Alumni Association President’s Award, Gabard continues to play a vital role in USC Lambda, most notably in scholarship fundraising. Now retired from being a tenured professor, he enjoys traveling—passionately chasing Christmas markets in Western Europe, Canada and the U.K.—as well as gardening, specifically cattleya orchids.
2023 Trailblazer Award Honoree
Actress, Singer, Author, Activist and Assistant Professor of Acting, USC School of Dramatic Arts
Alexandra Billings is an award-winning actress, singer, author and activist who’s currently an assistant professor of acting at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.
Over the course of her decades-spanning career, Billings has achieved unprecedented success as an openly transgender actress. Her one-woman autobiographical show, Before I Disappear, ran for more than 10 years off-Broadway. In 2005, she became the second transgender actress to play a transgender character on television, when she co-starred in ABC’s Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning. Although Billings is probably best known for playing Davina on the Amazon series Transparent, she has also guest-starred in such series as E.R., Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, and now has a recurring role on Amazon’s The Peripheral.
A dedicated AIDS and LGBTQ+ activist and advocate, Billings received the 2016 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award, which recognizes LGBTQ+ people who live openly and freely in the public eye. In addition, she has received five After Dark Awards and one Joseph Jefferson Award. Her memoir, This Time for Me, was published in 2022 to critical acclaim.
2023 Community Ally Award Honoree
Danielle E. Harvey ’00, ML ’19
Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations
Danielle E. Harvey is the associate vice president for alumni relations at the University of Southern California. As a senior manager of the USC Alumni Association, she leads a diverse team of professionals responsible for engaging all alumni lifelong and worldwide through a vast array of programs, services and events. Her portfolio includes the award-winning USC Women’s Conference, Reunion Weekend and Alumni Leadership Conference, and she provides leadership to the USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Alumni Association, regional engagement programs, industry and affinity networks, and generational groups.
With more than 18 years of experience in alumni relations and development, Danielle has a proven record of accomplishment in program development, board and volunteer management, organizational leadership, strategic planning, relationship building and fundraising. Her passions include teaching, mentoring and empowering women and children in addition to writing and other creative outlets.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the USC Rossier School of Education and an executive master’s degree in leadership from the USC Price School of Public Policy.
2023 Outstanding Scholar Award Honoree
Lucille Warren ’22
Student, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Lucille “Lucy” Warren is a St. Louis, Missouri native and USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences alum who’s currently pursuing a graduate degree from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Deeply involved in student advocacy, she served as both the student body vice president and chief diversity officer for the Undergraduate Student Government. In this capacity, Warren spearheaded a number of projects, from expanding gender-neutral bathrooms and disability accommodations on campus to leading Title-IX & Title-IV reporting mechanisms.
On the academic front, Warren is both a Presidential Scholar and a USC Lambda Scholar. She served as a research fellow at USC Dornsife’s Security and Political Economy Lab, where she worked on projects focused on education equity, foreign aid allocation and police brutality. She also helped craft the justice and equity strategic plan for the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Science, and is a former member of the Presidential Working Group on Sustainability’s DEI Committee.
Outside of USC, Warren served as a policy intern at both the U.S. Department of Labor and the City of Glendale, California. Passionate about using technology to advance intersectional equity and improve access to public resources, Warren hopes to work in policy analysis and strategic planning after graduating from USC.
The USC Lambda LGBTQ+ Alumni Association sincerely thanks all of the sponsors of the 2023 Scholarship Gala.
Keck School of Medicine of USC
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
ONE Archives Foundation
USC Alumni Association
USC Black Alumni Association
USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association
USC Latino Alumni Association
USC Marshall School of Business
USC Rossier School of Education
USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism
USC Credit Union
First presented in 2000, the USC Lambda Alumni Association Recognition Awards (LAARAs) honor members or advocates of the LGBTQ+ community for their service in advancing USC Lambda’s mission, serving as role models, and heightening the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community at large.
The 30th anniversary gala raised funds for scholarships to deserving USC students who demonstrate a commitment to Lambda’s mission of strengthening the LGBTQ+ community while recognizing our distinguished alumni for their outstanding merit, service, academic achievement and scholarly work.
2022 LAARA Honorees
We proudly salute the 2022 honorees of the USC Lambda Alumni Association Recognition Awards (LAARA).
LAARA for Merit
Presented to a member or ally of the LGBTQ+ community who serves as a role model; whose personal and/or professional achievements have advanced the causes of the LGBTQ+ community; and who has heightened the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Kristen Kavanaugh MSW ’12
Vice Chair, Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, U.S. Department of Defense
Kristen Kavanaugh is the vice chair of the U.S. Department of Defense’s inaugural Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. This committee provides advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the improvement of racial/ethnic diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity within the department, with a primary focus on military personnel. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Kavanaugh is a co-founder of the Military Acceptance Project (MAP), which helped lead to the military’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding LGBTQ+ service members. She is a USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work alum.
LAARA for Service
Presented to a member or ally of the LGBTQ+ community who serves as a role model by dedicating their time, talents or resources to advance USC Lambda’s mission in support of USC LGBTQ+ students, alumni and the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Bridgette Austin MBV ’19
CEO of B. Austin Consulting, LLC
Bridgette Austin is a retired U.S. Navy veteran and the CEO of B. Austin Consulting, LLC (BAC), a training & development company specializing in professional services for veterans and service members transitioning to civilian life. A recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon for serving multiple tours of duty in various conflict zones, she serves as a business coach and mentor to veterans, transitioning service members and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Austin has served on the advisory boards of the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise for the California Department of Veteran Affairs, the San Diego Veterans Coalition, the US for Warriors Foundation and the Veteran Chamber of Commerce. Currently on the executive board of the San Diego Equality Business Association, she earned her master of business for veterans from the USC Marshall School of Business.
LAARA for Staff
Presented to a USC faculty or staff member whose work demonstrates the values of USC Lambda’s mission to support USC LGBTQ+ students, alumni, faculty, staff and the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Lindsey Morrison MHA ’16
Process Architect for Keck Medicine of USC
Lindsey Morrison joined Keck Medicine of USC in 2009 and currently works in the academic medical center’s Value Improvement Office. As an out and proud bisexual queer woman, she leads the health system’s efforts to create a more welcoming and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ patients, family members, faculty members and staff.
For six years, Morrison has successfully led the USC hospitals’ efforts to achieve the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index designation of “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality.” She created and currently chairs the Keck Pride Committee, and recently helped guide the creation of Keck Medicine’s comprehensive Gender Affirming Care Program. Morrison, who earned her master’s in health administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy, has provided more than 2,300 hours of LGBTQ+ training throughout the Keck health system.
LAARA for Outstanding Scholar
Presented to a current USC Lambda Scholar who has gone above and beyond to advance USC Lambda’s mission in support of USC LGBTQ+ students, alumni and the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Justin Kawaguchi ’21
Graduate Student, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Justin Kawaguchi is a SoCal native and Class of 2021 graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC with a BA in global health. A USC Lambda Scholar, he served as the president of Society 53, the governing board of the Student Alumni Society, and held leadership positions in the USC Asian Pacific American Student Assembly and the Residential Housing Association, and served as a campus tour guide.
Outside of USC, Kawaguchi is co-chair of Okaeri, an organization dedicated to creating visibility, compassionate spaces and transformation for LGBTQ+ Nikkei and their families. He’s currently pursuing his master’s in health administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and hopes to eventually work in the areas of global health, health equity and strategic communication.
Previous LAARA Recipients:
- Sheila Kuehl
- Thomas Becktold ’87
- David C. Bohnett ’78
- John Heilman MPA ‘07, JD ’82, MRED ’09
- Tina Mabry MFA ’05
- Carole Migden
- David Mixner
- Stephen Soucy MPW ’00
- Lily Tomlin
- Nancy Warner