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DREXEL LGBTQIA+ ALUMNI Network Members

Learn more about each individual listed below by clicking the arrow next to their name. We’d love to hear your stories, too! Fill out our brief questionnaire to tell us a little bit about yourself if you’re a member of the Drexel alumni LGBTQIA+ community.

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If you would like to receive communications regarding LGBTQIA+ alumni news and upcoming events, please take a moment to fill out this online form with your preferred contact information.

Eric Colton, BS 2010, MS 2013

Stephen Facenda

 

Eric Colton, BS 2010, MS 2013
he/him/his
Lives in Washington, D.C.


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    After completing my undergrad in film and video and then my graduate degree in arts administration (both at Drexel), I moved to Washington, D.C.

    I have been working on the administrative side of theatre for almost a decade now. I am currently the deputy director of finance at Signature Theatre right outside of D.C. We're one of the top regional theatres in the area and won the Tony Award in 2007 for Best Regional Theatre.

  • Background information (Current city, professional background, work/volunteerism within the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.)
    I love traveling and trying new restaurants. My dog has become one of my biggest hobbies. He is an 8-year-old silver mini poodle. I have also embraced working out during the pandemic and bought a Peloton and started Orange Theory.

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    I think for me, it is always staying true to who you are and not worrying about what others may think of you.

  • How can Drexel's LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network make a positive impact? What are you looking forward to most as a member?
    I think an LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network is really huge. When I was at Drexel, it was often hard to get a sense of the gay community and I think it something that could be a lot stronger. I would love to have and even host events in D.C.

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    Enjoy Drexel and take advantage of everything Philadelphia has to offer. Don't be afraid to take risks!

Gerard Di Falco, MS 1985

Gerard Di Falco

 

Gerard Di Falco, MS 1985
he/him/his
Lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    *Professional Visual Artist, full-time since 1980.

    *Artist's Mentor/Printmaking Studio Manager, Fleisher Art Memorial's OPEN STUDIO IN PRINTMAKING, since 2008.

    *Accolades include (partial list):
    1. 1984: Drexel Assistantship, Arts Administration
    2. 1992: Art Grant, Pennsylvania Council of Art
    3. 2002: $30,000 Pollock-Krasner Art Grant Foundation in NYC
    4. 2005: Art Residency, Philadelphia Art Museum
    5. 2007: City of Philadelphia Award in Arts & Culture
    6. 2021: City of Philadelphia Illuminating the Arts Grant

    *LGBTQIA Work (partial list):
    1. 1973-79: Member, Philadelphia Gay Activists Alliance
    2. 1973-76: Volunteer, Eromin Center-Erotic Minorities)
    3. 1973: Founder, Rutgers GayLesbian Alliance
    4. 1975-1983: Volunteer, Giovanni's Room
    5. 1975-1981: Gallery Manager, Philadelphia Gay Center
    6. 1975: Organizer, 2nd Gay Lesbian Film Fest
    7. 1988-95: Member, ACT-UP
    8. 1995-2005: Art Museum Committee, Day Without Art
    9. 1995-2009: Committee, MANNA Art Auction

  • Background information (Current city, professional background, work/volunteerism within the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.)
    Visual Art; Writing; Curating Exhibits

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    I hope my involvement over the past 50 years in social and political actions have helped make a safer and more free world for the LGBTQIA+ Community. These days, as a result of spinal problems, most of my LGBTQ activities involves donating from my art sales to community causes.

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    History is a gas; it repeats itself. Keep fighting for your rights. Keep demanding your rights. Love your identity!

Stephen Facenda, BS 1990

Stephen Facenda

 

Stephen Facenda, BS 1990
Vice President, LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network

President, ViaMark Advertising
he/him/his
Lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    I graduated from Drexel in 1990. I live in Wayne, PA with my husband (25 years together/5 legally married). We have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Reichen and Finn. I started my career in the broadcasting business in Philadelphia as a salesman for a local radio station. As my career developed, I became the general sales manager of two radio stations from 2000-2008. In 2008, I decided to leave my job and open an advertising agency. I currently run the agency with my husband. We specialize in traditional and digital campaigns and work with a variety of different clients. In addition to serving as vice president of the LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network, I’m also on the Drexel Alumni Board of Governors. My goal is to help create and promote a LGBTQIA+ friendly campus for Drexel.

  • What are your interests and hobbies?
    My husband and I have a place in Rehoboth Beach, DE where we enjoy the beach and the fabulous gay community of Rehoboth. I also, enjoy gardening. Especially vegetable gardening.

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    I was closeted during my undergraduate days at Drexel. In the 1980s, LGBTQIA+ recognition and acceptance was not like it is today. The AIDS crisis sent many LGBTQIA+ men and women back in the closet. I eventually married a woman which turned out to be a disaster for obvious reasons. Finally, in 1995 I embraced my truth and came out. It was the best thing I have ever done. FREEDOM!

  • How can Drexel's LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network make a positive impact? What are you looking forward to most as a member?
    I want to see how we can make Drexel’s LGBTQIA+ student experience even better. What do the students need? How can we help? How can we attract more LGBTQIA+ talented students to Drexel? How can we mentor these students throughout their time at Drexel?

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Know that a Drexel degree opens many, many doors. Make sure you vet the company as they vet you. Don’t waste your beautiful talents at a homophobic company. Give those gifts to people who appreciate them and YOU!

Ahmad Nidzamuddeen Sallehhoddin, BS 2017

Stephen Facenda

 

Ahmad Nidzamuddeen Sallehhoddin, BS 2017
he/him/his
Lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    I live in Philadelphia and I’m a senior business analyst at Freedom Mortgage. I specialize in strategic HR operations, workforce planning and reporting/analytics.

  • What are your interests and hobbies?
    Outside of my corporate work, I spend time learning how to master the art of drag. I find it very fascinating. On top of that, I love reading about gender identity and expression.

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    Being unapologetic for being a gay and a feminine man is very important to me. It means that you are truthfully living your life regardless of where you are even in a corporate setting. It is important that regardless of how I identify sexually and how I express my gender identity, I deserve a seat at the table.

  • How can Drexel's LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network make a positive impact? What are you looking forward to most as a member?
    It creates a community of professionals and a safe space to share life and work experience as an LGBTQIA+ member. As a member, I’m looking to connect with fellow alumni and learn about their life journeys and successes as members the Drexel LGBTQIA+ community.

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    Life opens up when you do! Once you start acknowledging your sexuality you are unstoppable. However, do it at your own pace and never feel the pressure to do anything when you're not ready mentally and spiritually. My coming out story is not a happy one. But I have never been happier after coming out!

Giuseppe Salomone, PhD 1994, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019

Giuseppe Salomone

 

Giuseppe Salomone, PhD 1994, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
President, LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network

Assistant Vice President and University Registrar, Drexel University
he/him/his
Lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    I have been with Drexel University since 1990. I manage the current Registrar Offices for all three campuses (University City, Center City, and Queen Lane) and supervise a staff of 15 employees. I serve on academic advisory boards as well as various University-wide committees. My background is in educational systems, and I have worked on implementing the Banner student system across all three campuses and subsequently have established a rapport with departments, faculty, staff and students.

    I am extremely knowledgeable about the overall academic enterprise having functioned as a student, staff member and faculty member at Drexel. I have 30 years’ experience in higher education, and I am well versed with all nuances and intricacies related to academic administration, alumni relations, enrollment management, financial aid, student systems, academic advising, student support services, and the Office of the University Registrar.

  • What are your interests and hobbies?
    I live in Philadelphia with my partner Eric and our three female chihuahua puppies, Farrah, Harper and Winter. I love education and I am a lifelong learner, as you can tell from my many degrees from Drexel. I am a passionate LGBTQIA+ activist, and I have participated in many academic diversity boards at Drexel and across higher education. I was the chair of AACRAO’s LGBTQIA+ caucus for 10 years and presented nationally to better the student, faculty and staff LGBTQIA+ experience. In addition to being the president of the LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network, I am also the president of the Faculty and Professional Staff network and continue to fight for the rights of our LGBTQIA+ family.

    When I am not teaching or in school, I love music and science fiction! I am an avid music collector and collect vintage vinyl and other forms of music, CDs, minidiscs and cassettes. I love animals and enjoy spending time with my puppies. Eric and I love to travel and enjoy dining out in the city. I have also been working on a short story, that I am hoping to shop around for a screenplay.

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    I have always been gay and I was never closeted. I just did not feel comfortable having to tell everyone all the time, when asked if I was gay, that I was gay. Your sexuality is such a small part of who you are, and unfortunately in the gay male community, it sometimes seems to define a person. I was not going to be defined by my sexuality, nor was I going to be ashamed of it. I am an Italian American and very proud of my culture, so why do I need to be one over the other? I am an amalgamation of all these things, but most of all I am me, oh so wonderful me! I have recently adopted a new preferred name, which was initially supposed to be my birth name, Giuseppe. I did this to reclaim my Italian heritage, which I felt was slipping away, since I had to be gay and only gay, during such tumultuous times (AIDS epidemic and its subsequent aftermath). I was born gay, I did not become gay and that meant a lot to me to also be able to have that as part of the tapestry of my identify, however it did not become my identity.

  • How can Drexel's LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network make a positive impact? What are you looking forward to most as a member?
    Having a network of support for LGBTQIA+ alumni is wonderful. As they say, “It takes a village,” and we need to be together to make change happen. Engaging LGBTQIA+ alumni can help support and inform university wide initiates, such as LGBTQIA+ scholarships for incoming and current students, co-op employment opportunities for LGBTQIA+ students, with LGBTQIA+ alumni employers. Staying connected is critical for our community!

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    Live your truth and remember that you are truly unique. Don’t be defined by stereotypes or bad representation; fight to be who you are, as only you can define yourself, and that can be limitless. I was a club kid from NYC, and I was told I would die of AIDS and not live to see my 30th birthday. I refused to believe that and went on to get a PhD and now I am getting a second PhD. These trials and tribulations that we endure make us more resilient and determined. It did that for me and I fought ignorance with education, and I still do that daily. You are the beautiful, and you matter, and deserve only the best that life has to offer, please remember that.

Jeff Spence, BS 2009

Jeff Spence

 

Jeff Spence, BS 2009                  
he/him/his
Lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • Tell Us About Yourself.
    I currently serve as the Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, though I started my career at Drexel, first as a student employee and then for 14 years on the Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations teams. I am proud to also serve on the Drexel Alumni Board of Governors.

    My journey at Drexel was quite an interesting one. I started out as a full-time student in the College of Business before transitioning to a part-time student in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies while working full-time for the University. From start to finish, it took me almost 10 years to complete my degree, which I received as a BS in general studies in 2009.

    Outside of work, I have volunteered with DVLF (Delaware Valley Legacy Fund) and supported many local organizations focused on supporting and advocating on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am always open to new opportunities to support our community.

  • Background information (Current city, professional background, work/volunteerism within the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.)
    I enjoy traveling to new and some favorite places and am fortunate that my job helps provide those opportunities. I also like to go to theater and have subscribed to the Kimmel Center’s Broadway series for the past few years. I appreciate exploring new places around the city and elsewhere, especially trying new restaurants. 

  • What does embracing your identity mean for you? What are ways you feel your journey could make a difference in life?
    Embracing my identity as a gay man has been an important journey for me and I know that seeing and getting to know out, proud members of the LGBTQIA+ community was an important part of that. I enjoy being able to talk and support other community members in similar ways, because representation matters and Pride truly is about proudly standing up against shame, hate and other forms of oppression, not just for those against us but for those looking to us.

  • How can Drexel's LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network make a positive impact? What are you looking forward to most as a member?
    Drexel’s LGBTQIA+ Alumni Network could have a major impact on the lives of Drexel students and fellow alumni by providing mentorship, connections, and opportunities to learn from other members of the community and allies. It can provide lifelong learning to alumni who want to learn more about the history of the community and its impact and about the current issues affecting the community. It can also provide a safe, social space for Drexel community members to come together in fellowship and support and demonstrate that none of us are alone.

  • What are some words of wisdom that you could share with current Drexel students who identify as members or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community?
    So much of coming out and embracing who you are is an inside job. Try to find the confidence that you have in you to get through the questions and struggles—even when you’re unsure—and that you need not work on anyone else’s timeline or be a part of any specific “lifestyle.” Each person’s journey and identity is unique, yet there is a community of unique individuals here to support you.