Student Diversity

Sarah Holmes '96, MS'02

Assistant Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Sarah Holmes, wearing a Slytherin House scarf and a denim jacket, standing in an apple orchard

Office Location

129A Upton Hall, Gorham Campus




Many of us have a catalyst that brought us to activism – for Sarah Holmes it was the 1992 anti-gay defacement of an installation of international AIDS education posters at the University of Southern Maine while she was an undergraduate.  As a student, she became involved with the campus’ Alliance student group, was an active leader in student government, founded the USM Safe Zone Project, and participated in Dialogues in Diversity. As a graduate student in Adult Education, she also worked as the Tradebook Assistant for the USM Bookstore and then Administrative Assistant and Assistant to the Area Director of Portland Hall.  During that time, she advised the Alliance student group, co-coordinated two Northeast Regional LGBT Student Leadership Conferences, and advocated for the creation of a LGBTQA Resource Center.  From 2000 to 2002, she served as the first coordinator of that center.  In 2002, following completion of her Master’s degree, she was selected as a Vaid Research Fellow for the NGLTF Policy Institute in New York City.  Her work focused on the experiences of LGBTQ youth in K-12 education and resulted in a 2004 article published in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education.  After returning to Maine and working in alumni advancement at the University of New England for three years, Sarah again joined USM as the Coordinator for the Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity in the fall of 2006. 

In 2011, Sarah's role expanded beyond the CSGD when she became Assistant Director of Student Life and Diversity.  She helped to provide leadership for the student life operations on the Portland Campus, along with collaborating with students and fellow colleagues on wide-ranging diversity and inclusivity work.  In 2014, she accepted oversight of the Wellness Resource Centers and a more active role with the Campus Safety Project.  In 2015, Sarah's role expanded again when she was named Assistant Dean of Students and took on the role of Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

She has recently begun a PhD program in public policy and education leadership. Sarah identifies as femme, struggles with being allergic to all furred animals and, in her (currently limited) spare time, enjoys being with the people she loves, reading, and watching a wide variety of random television and film.