Former Faculty, Recent Grad Partner in Support LGBTQ+ Leadership

Linda Ketner and Tanner Crunelle ’20

They first met at a protest rally in Charleston in 2017. Linda Ketner and Tanner Crunelle ’20, two passionate activists fighting for marginalized populations, want to create a more embracing, accepting environment for the LGBTQ+ community at the College of Charleston.

An adjunct professor of sociology at the College from 1988 to 1991, Ketner created the Ketner Emerging Leaders Scholarship in 1990 as a way to encourage social justice and activism amongst students. At least twice a year, she gets together with her entire cohort of students and then regularly meets with them individually.

“I’m really hopeful about this generation,” says Ketner. “As an old baby boomer activist, they remind me of my generation — aware, plugged in and willing to take stands. All the students I have worked with over the years are local activists. They are all making a difference in their communities, something that pleases me greatly.”

A recipient of the Ketner Emerging Leaders Scholarship, Crunelle benefitted from Ketner’s meetings. “Linda and I have a very special bond,” he says. “She’s one of my biggest role models. Her confidence, courage, nimbleness — I revere all of this in her.”

“For students like Tanner, Linda is inspiring not only because of her considerable scholarship support, but because of her vision,” says Kris De Welde, director of women’s and gender studies. “Linda expects recipients to engage in transformative advocacy and activism through meaningful initiatives. Her direct mentoring provides opportunities for students who might not otherwise have the time, resources or encouragement to pursue social change together with other student scholars who are equally motivated to subvert unequal systems of oppression. She certainly helped shape and guide Tanner’s activism at CofC.”

With his unwavering drive and Ketner’s guidance, Crunelle became the most significant student voice for LGBTQ+ equality in the history of the College of Charleston.

To read more on this story, check out the full article at The College Today. Full article by Darcie Goodwin. Photo by Mike Ledford.

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