Reilly receives Dr. P.B. Poorman Award

Seth Reilly
Photo credit: Sean McGrath

Seth Reilly, a technical education major and theatre design minor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, is being recognized with the 2023 Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQIA+ People.

“I never really thought that someone would nominate me for this award and never expected that if they did, I would get it,” said Reilly, a Portage, Wisconsin, native. “I didn’t think much of my role in getting things moving until someone pointed out to me all I’ve done. I was pretty surprised when I got the award.”

Through his involvement on campus, Reilly has made an impact on the community, most notably as a key member of The Alliance, UW-Platteville’s LGBTQ+ student organization. He served two terms as vice president and stepped up to take on the role of president, after the early resignation of the former president, keeping the organization thriving during a time of uncertainty.

Another area that exemplifies Reilly’s dedication to improving the campus community is his work with Greek life organizations, specifically Sigma Pi Epsilon, where Reilly was elected to serve as chaplin for his fraternity. He has brought in guest speakers to talk about the importance of consent, pronouns and respecting LGBTQ+ people and has one-on-one conversations with members when they have questions or need extra support.

“Seth has dedicated himself to his studies and improving diversity, equity and inclusion on and off campus,” said Becky Haas, involvement coordinator for student organizations at UW-Platteville. “He has consistently been dedicated to The Alliance, helped create a culture of equality in Greek Life and works daily to provide a campus climate accepting of LGBTQIA+ folks.”

Reilly said that he is fueled by his spite against hate and works against stereotypes and hate in any form.

“We’re all deserving of human decency and kindness, whether or not we look alike, whether or not we think alike or are attracted to the same gender as others,” said Reilly. “I see people being rude to those who are different, and we need to change that. I’ve always thought about that, looking forward to my future classroom. It’s not going to be a space where kids can come in and hate on other people.”

Reilly has served on the executive board every semester since joining The Alliance and helped to completely rewrite its constitution and bylaws to help frame the organization to move forward in the next 5 years. He is stepping back this year so others are able to get involved and can learn the positions while he is still around to help them, if needed.

“I’ve taken a step back from leadership to allow others in the organization to guide themselves moving forward,” said Reilly. “I think the things I’ve set out to do have been done. We’re in a good position now, moving forward, to succeed as an organization.”

The Dr. P.B. Poorman Award celebrates the memory and legacy of Dr. Paula B. Poorman, a faculty member at UW-Whitewater dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people and recognizes UW System faculty, staff, students or community members for their excellence in advocacy, research, teaching or service on behalf of the LGBTQ+ communities. Reilly will be recognized at a ceremony in Madison this fall.