Alysia Steele, Catherine Hultman, Kevin Cozart

UM Outreach Staffer Catherine Hultman Earns Ally of the Year Award

Coordinator of Testing Services honored for acceptance of LGBTQ community.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi testing center coordinator Catherine Hultman sees students at one of their most stressed and vulnerable seasons, exam time.

She also serves as an instructor to incoming transfer students enrolled in the EDHE transfer experience course. This class helps transfer students make a positive transition to the university.

During the fourth annual UM Lavender Graduation last month, Hultman was honored for her support of LGBTQ members in the Ole Miss community, especially students, as she was named a recipient of the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year staff award.

“She is a confidant and a true friend to her colleagues, and fosters an academic environment in which students are able to thrive,” said Corey Blount, assistant director of disability services.

“She lives and experiences what an ally should be: a good role model and loving person.

Blount went on to say that the room lights up with her witty sense of humor and her self-admission that she has never met a stranger.

The award was created in 2015 to recognize the then-retiring Vicki Mahan, former assistant director of the UM Counseling Center, for her years of service working to better the lives of LGBTQ faculty, staff and students.

Hultman said she is grateful to be honored for her work promoting rights for the LGBTQ community.

She said this award is especially meaningful after an experience she went through in 1989, when she worked as a high school English teacher in Houston, Texas, and a student in her class committed suicide.

“We started an alliance for students, many of whom I’m still friends with today. I just want to be a listening ear and support students through whatever obstacles they face.”

Blount said he also admires the efforts Hultman has made to advocate for equality in her own home.

“She teaches her children that diversity is beauty, that identity is limitless and that love knows no boundaries,” he said.

The annual award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has a “career” of supporting LGBTQ students and members of the Ole Miss community.

Also honored at the ceremony was Alysia Steele, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and New Media, who was named the faculty Ally of the Year.

“From childhood, my mother always instilled in me to accept people for who they are – that we have no reason to judge,” Steele said.

“I want every student to know that my office is a safe place, and I am always willing to help. That is just who I am as a person, but I’m honored to be recognized for that.”