North Texas community mourns death of campus GLBT leader

Posted on 15 Jun 2006 at 4:29pm
By Staff and Wire Reports


Dan Emenheiser, director of diversity education in the Equity and Diversity Division of the University of North Texas, died unexpectedly on June 10. He was 52.

Dan Emenheiser, 52, director of diversity education in the Equity and Diversity Division of the University of North Texas in Denton, died suddenly on June 10 after an attack of pancreatitis.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the Yorkshire United Methodist Church in York, Pa. Officials at the University of North Texas are planning a memorial service and reception for Emenheiser from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday in Room 35 of the UNT Gateway Center.

The public is invited to attend the memorial, and visitor parking is available in the Fouts Field parking lot on the west side of North Texas Boulevard.

Emenheiser, a native of York, earned his bachelor’s degree in food service and housing administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1975, and a master’s degree in restaurant, hotel and institutional management from Purdue University in 1977. He received his doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University in 1981.

Emenheiser came to the University of North Texas 15 years ago as an associate dean in the School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management. He has worked in the Division of Equity and Diversity for the last eight years.

Emenheiser won an Outstanding Staff Award in 2004. Officials announced this week that Emenheiser’s name will be added to the school’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Scholarship in Honor of Mary Finley, and said the school will accept contributions in his name.

Those who want to give a gift in his memory can also send donations to the Division of Equity and Diversity in support of the UNT Ally Program, a group for GLBT faculty and staff and their allies that Emenheiser helped establish.
Cassandra Berry, vice president for Equity and Diversity at the university, said this week that Emenheiser “always gave his best to UNT and to others, and his performance on the job was consistently outstanding.”

“While all of us who worked by his side will miss Dan as a colleague and a coworker, my heart is grieving now because I have lost a friend that I cared for deeply and genuinely respected for who he was,” Berry said.

Emenheiser worked part-time for the Resource Center of Dallas. Gil Flores, the center’s director of community center services, described Emenheiser as “one of the most selfless individuals you could ever meet.”

One of Emenheiser’s duties was coordinating educational conferences focused on diversity, equal opportunity and dialogue, and he spearheaded a slate of popular annual conferences focusing on women, women of color, Latinos in the 21st century and developing multicultural leaders. Many of those conferences and seminars drew on local leaders as well as numerous nationally-recognized experts as speakers and teachers, according to Steve Krueger, a board member for the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and board liaison for Leadership Lambda, a program of the DGLA Don Baker Education Fund.

“Dan has certainly been a great friend to our community. He gave us opportunities to be on campus and to work with emerging leaders across North Texas,” Krueger said.

Patti Fink, another alliance board member, described Emenheiser as “an extraordinary human being in every way” who brought “an amazing gentleness and generosity to everything in life.”

Erin Moore, alliance president, commended Emenheiser’s dedication to his students and to the community at large.

“Our community could not have had a better friend or a greater advocate than we had in Dan,” Moore said. “We will miss him greatly.”

Emenheiser is survived by his life partner, Russell Poe, and their five dogs, Buffy, Cody, Chelsea, Cali and Ms. Pickles; and by his parents, William and Doris Emenheiser; his sister and brother-in-law, Lila E. and Keith Metzel; his nephew, Micah Metzel; and his niece, Cora Metzel, all of York, Penn.

To share memories of send condolences to Emenheiser’s family and his friends and colleagues at the university, e-mail inhouse@unt.edu.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 16, 2006.

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