The David Nord Award

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In a December 4, 1996 letter to David Nord, Chuck Cleveland emphasized that despite all the recent leaps in Whitman’s social environment, there was much more to do. Cleveland’s letter mentioned that “Each year we get a new class of students who need to be educated and made aware of this issue, we have continuing students who still seem insensitive, [and] we have Gay and Lesbian students who need to know that we care and that they make an important contribution to the College.” Nord’s initial endowment of $20,000 established the David Nord Award as a means of this continuing education. After graduating in 1983, Nord claimed that he “stumbled down a path without purpose or direction” until he contracted AIDS in 1985. Contracting AIDS provided the impetus for Nord to acquire his Master’s degree in psychotherapy from Antioch University, work with myriad Seattle based HIV/AIDS groups, and endow the Nord Award in 1996. Kristofer Peterson was awarded the first Nord Award Presentation on May 13, 1997. His presentation discussed the impact of the 1996 Supreme Court decision Romer v. Evans (which overturned a Colorado law against equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens) on queer activism. David Nord was able to attend Peterson’s presentation and apparently took pride in the creation and continuation of the award.


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“The David Nord Award,” Whitman College Archives, accessed January 29, 2023,