Jim Beverwyk Ally Award

The Jim Beverwyk Award honors the humility, humanity, and good humor of an ally who became ‘family of choice’, friend, and mentor to Deanna Hurlbert, Director of the LBGT Resource.   Throughout his life and career, Jim gravitated toward the most marginalized and oppressed persons– and they to him. He could lift one’s spirit or force one to face hard truths.  He advocated for, housed, taught, and counseled countless – well beyond his call – and was a true ally in action.  Unpretentious and frank, compassion and unfailing sense of humor endeared him to others more often than not.

James Harm Beverwyk, 68, passed away suddenly on December 24, 2013, following a heart attack. Born in Zeeland, Michigan, Jim spent his teenage years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University in 1967. Soon thereafter, Jim married his high school sweetheart, Mary Parsaca, and in 1968 together they joined the Peace Corps, serving as secondary school teachers in Tara’nganya, Kenya. Upon their return in 1971, the couple moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Jim founded the Middle Earth Youth Center. From 1972 through 1980, Jim served as Director of Jemez House Children’s Ranch in Alcalde, New Mexico, and in the following years, until his retirement in 2010, held various counseling and teaching positions. Jim is survived by his wife, Mary Parsaca, and daughter Tana Beverwyk-Abouda, both of whom are alumna of Michigan State University.

Current Michigan State University Graduate Students, Staff, and Faculty are eligible for the award.  Nominations may be self-submitted.  This award will honor persons who are not LBGT for outstanding contributions to support and enhance the campus climate and support students marginalized by their sexuality or gender identity and expression.

This is not a financial award.  The winner of the award will be recognized at the annual Lavender Reception and Mosaic Awards.

Nomination Process

Each nomination must include 1) a nomination form, 2) a nomination essay, and 3) two letters of support for the nominee.  Letters of support cannot come from the same person who submits the essay.

The nomination form can be found here.

The nomination essay is not to exceed 1000 words and should address the following:

  1. History of nominee’s activities supporting persons who are marginalized by their sexuality or gender identity and expression at Michigan State University; and,
  2. Description of how this person’s actions as an ally have had an impact on a student, students, and/or campus climate

Application materials can be submitted electronically or via hard copy to the LBGT Resource Center.

  • Electronic copies should be sent to lbgtrc@msu.edu with “Beverwyk Award Application 2015” in the Subject Line
  • Hard copies should be mailed via U.S. Mail to the Resource Center using our address on our Contact Page

Application Deadline

The Jim Beverwyk Ally Award will not be awarded in 2016.

Past Award Recipients

  • 2015, Amber Cordell