New AIC Scholarship for LGBT Students


Mary Ellen Lowney

AIC Chief Information Officer Mimi Royston holding a photo of herself with her late wife Monica Harlow Royston and their son Morgan, who is now 11.

Mary Ellen Lowney, Publisher

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students at AIC now have a scholarship that embodies their characteristics and interests.

The new Monica Harlow Royston Scholarship will give $1,000 per year – in $500 increments by semester – to an achieving student who embodies the spirit of the woman for whom it is named.

Harlow Royston is the late wife of Mimi Royston, AIC’s Chief Information Officer. She is funding the scholarship as a way to remember Harlow Royston, who died in an accident in November 2013.

The couple has a son, Morgan, who is now 11.

“We have such great diversity in terms of our students and their economic backgrounds, and that was Monica,” Royston said. “I know this is something that would have made her so happy.”

She added, “I chose the scholarship to be an AIC student because many of our students are very similar to Monica. She was a first-generation college student and it was extremely difficult for her and her family to afford her education. At her alma mater, it was very difficult being a lesbian and starting a GLBTQ support group.”

Monica was a first-generation college student who overcame financial hardships to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy, and later a master’s in education from Worcester State College. After graduation, she worked for many youth organizations and taught at the high school level.

She had a passion for affecting change, and was committed to supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens and their transitions to healthy adulthoods. Her focus was often on the underserved and disenfranchised.

She loved animals, and lived life fully, an active theater lover who was known as a “natural ham,” Royston said.

“She was a friendly person who loved people,” Royston recalled, noting that her late wife often acted out parts to bring much laugher and happiness to the family.

Though she did not excel at sports, she was always willing to try – another source of much laughter for mothers and son.

Anyone interested in applying for the scholarship can find the application in the Financial Aid section of MyAIC, or by visiting the Financial Aid office on campus.

The student recipient of this award would preferably be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and be active in supporting other members of the queer community. Having a minimum 3.0 GPA, the student should have a passion for the study of humanities – English, Philosophy, History, Theology, Theater or American Studies.

Selection will be made by a committee of faculty and administrators who value the characteristics with which Monica lived and loved. The committee will strive to select a student who has similar traits and passions as Monica Harlow Royton.

Deadline to apply is March 31.