Barb Dallinger, associate director of Event Services and Catering for Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality at Illinois State University, was awarded with the Communication Innovation Award for the Association for Women in Communications at the Crystal Awards on February 23.

Dallinger has worked at Illinois State for 25 years. Most recently, Dallinger has served as an associate director for the Bone Student Center and now Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality. Dallinger was a 1981 graduate of Illinois State with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and earned a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration in 2001.

Throughout her time at Illinois State, she has been instrumental in communicating the challenges and need for support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-plus students and community members.

Words were originally weapons aimed at Dallinger. She was fired from her teaching job in St. Louis because of her sexual orientation, and banned from the school without being able to say goodbye to her students.

Instead of giving up, she returned to ISU as a staff member. She organized, advocated, and used her communication skills to reach across campus and into Bloomington-Normal, bringing a message to LGBTQ+ people who felt alone, isolated, and frightened.

Dallinger became an advisor and steady force for the ISU Pride organization on campus, and worked with the area Prairie Pride Coalition to bring about change. One of the founders of the LGBTQIA Support Fund, Dallinger and fellow ISU alum Dave Bentlin also created the ISU LGBTQA Alumni Network, the first LGBTQ alumni group at ISU.

Dallinger manages the ISU Triangle listserv, a communications tool for maintaining contact with ISU LGBTQ faculty and staff. She also moderates the ISU Triangle Association and ISU LGBTQA Alumni Network Facebook pages, the primary tools used for communication, particularly with alumni.