Photo of retired staff member and alum Dorothy Fillmore

Fund honors retired staff member, alum’s dedication to LGBTQIA+ inclusion

Dorothy Fillmore earned her master’s in English/English Education at VCU in 1984, and worked as an adjunct faculty member in the department from 1984-1986. Soon after, she began her 35-year career in academic advising and administration at VCU, connected with and supporting students. Throughout her career, Fillmore saw students struggling to support themselves financially as they earned their degrees. She also noticed many of these students were members of the LGBTQIA+ community, just like her.

When Fillmore retired in 2020, the Dorothy Fillmore Scholarship was created in her honor to continue this work. The scholarship supports students facing financial hardship as they earn their degree. It can be used not only for tuition and school supplies, but also general living expenses, including food.

“I hope this scholarship will be a safety net for those who don’t have one,” says Fillmore. “I am so grateful for all of the people who have already given to this fund.” 

The fund was created by Equity VCU, a committee made up of students, faculty, staff, allies and friends who work to promote inclusivity at VCU and fully integrate LGBTQIA+ individuals into all aspects of the intellectual life and social fabric of the university. Fillmore worked with Equality VCU on initiatives that increased representation of the LGBTQIA+ community by supporting students and faculty from the early-2000s when she joined the group until her retirement. 

“We know there is a group of students who are at risk because of who they are,” says Fillmore. “In college, these are the years when you start understanding who you are. There are thankfully many students with supportive families, but sometimes it’s the people who are funding your education who are not understanding or tolerant of that. Those students needed some help.” 

Fillmore is proud to have her name on a fund that supports students who need some help to get through school. She is happy to see any student gain vital access to higher education at the university she loves. 

“VCU is the kind of wonderful place to grow, explore and learn that all students deserve,” says Fillmore. “I am thankful to have had a meaningful career at VCU helping to assure that all students have access to the resources they need.” 

To support the Dorothy Fillmore Scholarship, make a gift online today.