Wingspan honors new trustee with First Amendment award

A new trustee at Laramie County Community College was named the second recipient of an award that recognizes individuals or groups who defend the First Amendment.

Dr. Kevin Kilty, a former LCCC instructor who was elected to the LCCC board in November, received the Howard Major First Amendment Guardian Award on May 4. Major was the first recipient of the award for his defense from infringement of the First Amendment's five freedoms—speech, press, religion, assembly and petition, especially in the areas of publications, art, music, theatre and speech communication.

The honor was created in 2010 by the staff of the LCCC student newspaper, Wingspan, in recognition of the retirement of Dr. Howard Major, LCCC dean of the arts and humanities division.

Major, who now lives in Arizona, praised the staff's choice. "Kevin has demonstrated exceptional insight, courage and tenacity in defending the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and academic freedom. He has been willing to take personal risks and expend incredible amount of his time and energy," Major said. "He has demonstrated a deep understanding of the principles of freedom of speech and expression and helped others understand these principles. Kevin has demonstrated his commitment to make the necessary personal sacrifices to help maintain these rights for all of us."

The honor was presented to Kilty at the Wingspan annual awards luncheon by Wingspan co-editors Hannah Wheeler and Will Hebert. They noted Kilty's willingness to ask the difficult questions at LCCC Board of Trustees meetings and to encourage the campus community to adopt an academic freedom statement.

"He protects the First Amendment rights by utilizing them," Hebert noted.