Wilmoth named director for Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

July 22, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sonya Wilmoth has been named the new director for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Penn State Student Affairs effective July 19. Wilmoth had been serving as the interim director since January 2021.

Sonya Wilmoth

After serving as interim director since January, Sonya Wilmoth has been named director for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. 

IMAGE: Penn State

In this role, Wilmoth will oversee the center, which provides a comprehensive range of programming, education, information and advocacy services for the entire Penn State community around sexual and gender diversity.

"The extraordinary progress made nationally on issues of sexual and gender diversity and inclusion has been reflected by wonderful progress on this front at Penn State. Sonya Wilmoth's advocacy and leadership promise sustained commitment to these purposes on behalf of our students,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. “I could not be more pleased that she has accepted this important leadership role within Student Affairs, and I look forward to working closely with her and others toward more good progress in the years ahead."

Wilmoth succeeds Brian Patchcoski, who served as director for the center from July 2017 through January 2018 when he transitioned to his current role as the assistant vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Student Affairs.

“I am so excited to take on this role and continue the great work of previous directors Allison Subasic and Brian Patchcoski,” said Wilmoth. “The center has meant so much to so many, and I feel very humbled to be a part of the work moving forward and continuing to make Penn State a national leader in sexuality and gender work.”

Wilmoth has been with Penn State since 2013 when she began her role as assistant director in the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (previously, the LGBTQA Student Resource Center). In that role, she was responsible for conceptualizing and directing the center’s awareness month programming and annual events. In addition, Wilmoth implemented and delivered the "Safer People, Safer Places" educational workshops for Penn State faculty, staff and graduate students. She also designed and implemented the center’s CHAT series, in which the center provides space for a staff member from other Penn State units and community partners, such as counselors or sexual health experts, so that students can have informal, drop-in meetings in a familiar space. 

“During her tenure with the center, Sonya has demonstrated a commitment to active social change. She has fostered new initiatives alongside the center’s staff, such as their graduate student outreach and anti-racism programming,” said Patchcoski. “Sonya is deeply devoted to personal and professional growth, that will absolutely continue to benefit her, but ultimately the students with which she interacts in this new role.”

In her role as assistant director, Wilmoth also collaborated around larger initiatives at Penn State. She assisted in the support of the 24 Penn State campuses through the Coalition on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (CSOGI), and represented the center on the Penn State’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity (CLGBTQE).

Prior to her work in Student Affairs, Wilmoth worked in athletics as head softball coach for West Chester University and the University of North Florida, where she also worked as an adjunct professor. She then worked as an adjunct professor in sports administration for Jacksonville University. 

Wilmoth received her bachelor’s degree in English from La Salle University, Philadelphia. She received a master’s degree in sport and athletic administration from West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, and a master’s of higher education administration from Penn State World Campus.

Last Updated July 23, 2021