New Scholarship Supports LGBTQ Students with Financial Need, Commitment to Social Justice

Harry S. Bronson '82

Harry B. Bronson ’82 speaks during a New York State Assembly debate on marriage equality.

Life is about the possibilities and not the obstacles, according to Harry B. Bronson ’82.

“I have learned the future is ours to create and that an education is key to that future,” Bronson said. “A college education equips students with the tools to grow, learn and succeed in our evolving economy.”

With that in mind, he has established the Harry B. Bronson ’82 Endowed Social Justice Scholarship to “help students seize upon the opportunity to obtain a quality higher education from SUNY Oswego.”

The scholarship was established to support Oswego students who are committed to social justice, have financial need, demonstrate academic achievement and self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ)—a component that reflects Bronson’s life’s work: “The simple principle that all human beings have dignity; and that no matter who you are, what you look like, who you love or where you come from, we all deserve full equality and the chance to succeed.”

Bronson’s passion for social justice, equality and fairness has defined his public service, his career and his personal life.

Bronson was the 11th of 12 children born into a household that struggled financially: “We did not have indoor plumbing in our home until I was 8 years old.” But, he said, it was also a home in which his parents taught that integrity, hard work, tenacity and education lead to a better life. Bronson was the first in his family to attend college. He went on to law school at SUNY Buffalo and became a lawyer, a businessman and an elected official, most recently as a member of New York State Assembly District 138, a post that he has held since 2011. He is recognized as an authority in, and has lectured throughout the state, on employment law and public justice issues, and he has taught employment law at Cornell University.

Bronson has played crucial roles in equality legislation, including his work with public unions for the expansion of domestic partnership benefits to state employees. He has served as a board member and in leadership roles for several non-profit organizations and foundations. In 2013, Bronson was a nominee for the prestigious White House Harvey Milk Champions of Change Award.

The new scholarship, he said, provides a method to help current and future activists in the struggle for equality.

“I want someone from my LGBTQ community to take the greatest advantage of what SUNY Oswego has to offer, so they, too, may go forward and work for equality for all,” Bronson said.

“In the current climate in our country where there is a movement to pit one against another and to perceive people who are different as something ‘other,’ not worthy and a threat, we need more than ever before people willing to fight for social justice and equality for all.”

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