Event Details

DATE: Thursday, May 12, 2022
TIME: Doors Open at 6:30 p.m. EST, Event Runs 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST
LOCATION: The Cornell Club, 6 East 44th Street New York, NY 10017

Join us for the 2022 Steven W. Siegel ‘68 Award hosted at the Cornell Club of New York!

Steven W. Siegel ‘68 Award Steve Siegel ’68 was Cornell Pride’s (formerly CUGALA’s) tireless leader for more than 25 years. He encouraged alumni to get involved and was an alumni voice for LGBT students. He was a devoted Cornellian and received Cornell’s highest alumni honor, the Frank H.T. Rhodes Award for Exemplary Alumni Service becoming the first openly gay recipient of that award. He passed away in January 2012, leaving behind a strong legacy for LGBT alumni. Each year, Cornell Pride (previously CUGALA) honors a Cornell alumnus who embodies these values of service and LGBT advocacy.

This year, we are excited to honor David Steward ‘79 as our 2022 Siegel Award recipient. David Steward was born in Orange, Texas in 1957. He graduated from Cornell University in 1975, and the University of Chicago Booth Business School in 1985. During his college years, Steward was an active leader in Cornell Gay Liberation (CGL) serving in several roles during a period when Cornell hosted trailblazers like Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, one of earliest voices advocating for LGBTQ equality in the military, as well as noted gay playwright Edward Albee while also creating ongoing events like the 500+ person dances that served as important community activities for the entire Central New York queer community.

Many years later Steward was active in Cornell Pride as a board member leading Governance and Strategic Planning and is proud to have led a Development team that raised over $1.5M. In the intervening years Steward drove growth and impact at several of the nation’s most important LGBTQ+ organizations. He served as Co-Chair of GLAAD, the leading Anti-Defamation organization in the community growing revenues from $2 to $6M. He also served as a board member and Co-Chair of the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest LQBTQ Scholarship organization. During his tenure revenues and assets nearly tripled. Steward continues to be active with Point and presently serves on its Emeritus board. Over the course of his engagement with Point, Steward has raised over $2M for the organization. At PFLAG NYC Steward secured over $3M in free media for the ground-breaking Stay Close campaign that has helped thousands of families keep relationships strong regardless of sexual orientation. In 2010, Steward was honored with PFLAG NYC’s Individual Leadership Award for his longtime leadership in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

Steward continues to be active with Cornell — working with the alumni magazine since 2016 and currently serving on the committee which launched Cornellians, the new all alumni community platform. He serves as a CAAAN interviewer and on the Cornell Advocacy Program and is a Cornell Mosaic At-Large Member as well as a proud member of Cornell University Council. In his professional life Steward is an award-winning leader of business-building and turnaround across multiple platforms, including digital marketing and content, e-commerce and traditional media as well as non-profit institutions. As a principal in Overlook Enterprises, David partners with leadership teams to launch digital media and ecommerce businesses and to drive successful change management in more established business. Previously David dramatically improved top and bottom-line performance of the core travel deals business as CEO of ShermansTravel Media, a leading online and mobile travel publisher, where he reengineered the core business and launched a new, high growth Cruise business. Earlier in his career he led a dramatic turnaround of a $200M direct marketer and was instrumental in building and redeveloping three of America’s top media brands: People Magazine, Martha Stewart Living (as COO) and TV Guide (as CEO). His leadership, analytical, financial and creative skills propelled these brands into profitable new directions. Steward was honored by Advertising Age as one of the “Marketing 100” and was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement.

David currently resides in the Hudson Valley on Overlook Farms with his husband, Pierre Friedrichs, where they raise poultry and cattle on the lush green countryside of East Chatham.

We are also honoring Omar Gonzalez-Pagan ‘07 as our inaugural Young Alumni Achievement Award, a new award Cornell Pride is introducing to recognize a young alumnus who exemplifies the spirit of the Siegel Award.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan is Counsel and the Health Care Strategist at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV.

He has played a critical role in advancing the rights of LGBTQ people under the U.S. Constitution and federal civil rights laws in virtually every aspect of our lives, including education, employment, health care, and housing. Gonzalez-Pagan was instrumental in achieving two of the latest victories for LGBTQ people before the U.S. Supreme Court—Obergefell v. Hodges and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia.

As lead counsel in Smith v. Avanti, Gonzalez-Pagan also obtained the first court decision in the country holding that the Federal Housing Act’s sex discrimination prohibition covers discrimination against LGBTQ people. Gonzalez-Pagan has also obtained key legal victories for the rights of transgender students. He was lead counsel in Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District and counsel in Adams v. The School Board of St. Johns County, holding that the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and Title IX protect transgender students from discrimination in schools. Gonzalez-Pagan played a key role in stopping some of the most heinous attacks against LGBTQ people, refugees, and other vulnerable populations by the Trump administration and some state governments.

Gonzalez-Pagan serves as lead counsel and successfully secured injunctions in Whitman-Walker Clinic v. HHS, a challenge to the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back health care protections for LGBTQ people, and Immigration Equality v. DHS, a challenge to the Trump administration’s “death to asylum” rule. Most recently, Gonzalez-Pagan has served as counsel in Doe v. Abbott, the challenge to the directives by Texas officials deeming the provision medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender adolescents with gender dysphoria to be “child abuse.” Gonzalez-Pagan is also an architect of Lambda Legal’s efforts to secure the ability of transgender people to obtain accurate identity documents, including birth certificates. He has served as lead counsel in Arroyo González v. Rosselló Nevares, Foster v. Andersen, MHW v. Cuomo, Gore v. Lee, and Campos v. Cohen, involving the right of transgender people born in Puerto Rico, Kansas, New York, Tennessee, and North Carolina to obtain accurate birth certificates consistent with their gender identity. Gonzalez-Pagan received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also possesses a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Cornell University. Gonzalez-Pagan was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico.