On Monday, February 4, innovative educator and LGBTQ+ and feminist activist Dr. Mira Krishnan visited St. Mark's as part of the Gray Colloquium series.
With undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from the University of Michigan, a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Florida, and postgraduate work at the University of Chicago and the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Krishnan led Hope Network's Center for Autism, creating West Michigan's leading provider of early diagnostic and early intervention services for preschool-aged autistic children.
As a transgender citizen, Krishnan uses her speaking and advocacy skills to speak on LGBT issues. At the state and national levels, she co-chairs the American Psychological Association Committee for Transgender People and Gender Diversity. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Equality Michigan. She is board advisor to the Association of Children's Residential Centers. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the Trans100, a list of 100 influential transgender Americans chosen annually. She has also spoken at the White Privilege Conference, and she regularly consults and educates on diversity, inclusion, and equity.
This year's Gray Colloquium theme is "Creating Change," and to that end Mira Krishnan is profoundly qualified to talk about community and the meaning of belonging. At St. Mark's she visited with students and faculty during the day before addressing the entire School community in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall.
Krishnan entitled her presentation "The Never Ending Quest: What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?" and spoke about her experiences serving autistic children and their families, advocating for equality for both people with autism—particularly minority populations— and the LGBTQ+ community, and her own journey to self-awareness and a commitment to creating change. Following her talk, she responded to a few questions. That evening, Krishnan met with students from the St. Mark's GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) affinity group.
The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium Series is designed to engage St. Mark's students in an exploration of one complex global issue annually. Students hear from outside speakers with varying viewpoints, participate in small group discussions, write about and debate the issue, and take part in all-community events. C. Boyden Gray '60, former board president and current Trustee Emeritus, has committed $1.5 million to fund this annual yearlong learning exercise. St. Markers, Gray believes, "should think in big terms and be inquisitive about the outside world." Gray, a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, White House counsel to the first President Bush, and recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, hopes that tackling these topics in an intensive fashion will inspire students to serve their country and the world.