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Gresham High grad receives national honor

Bonifacio is recognized for supporting college LGBT awareness


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Bonifacio

Maria Bonifacio, a 1999 graduate of Gresham High School, has won the American College Personnel Association Public Service Award, sponsored by the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness.

The award honors Bonifacio’s work supporting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) awareness within higher education as University of Alaska Anchorage’s associate director of Residence Life and SafeZone ally/trainer in the Division of Student Affairs.

“It means so much to be recognized at the national level,” Bonifacio said. “It’s an honor.”

A Western Oregon University graduate in interdisciplinary studies, Bonifacio got her start in student affairs as a resident assistant on Western’s campus.

She went on to receive her master’s degree in early elementary education. She has spent the past eight years working at University of Alaska Anchorage.

Bonifacio said she has loved working with SafeZone trainers, who “have a passion for helping to serve a population that is usually underserved.”

SafeZone is a campus-wide program designed to increase the overall campus community’s understanding and awareness of issues faced by the LGBT community and other marginalized people.

Bonifacio helped to revive her campus’ SafeZone program after a 2010 training in Oregon, bringing the training back to students, staff and faculty, along with neighboring institutions.

Bonifacio is the daughter of Gresham resident Nelda Bonifacio and the sister of Artigas Bonifacio, a teacher at Barlow High School.



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