The University of Minnesota Duluth's (UMD) Gender Identifiable Commission is celebrating the LGBTQ community as part of National Coming Out Day on Wednesday.
Dr. Jacob Wainman is a chemistry and physics professor at UMD.
"This is a part of that mission. Being who I am so they can see that they can be who they are on their way to whatever success is," said Dr. Wainman.
His "coming out" story started over ten years ago when he was a Bulldog.
"I grew up in a small town. Didn't really come out in high school cause I didn't really have a good idea of what my identity was," Dr. Wainman said. "And then came to UMD when all that changed."
Reilly Manzer is a current student at UMD with his own testament.
"Me and my older brother sat down with my parents and we both came out as bi[sexual]. And my parents were just like 'rock on.'"
But it's not always that easy.
Campus officials say now more than ever it's important to make sure every student feels safe and open to express who they are."
Dr. Wainman said, "students are here to be successful. They want a career. They don't want their identity to be a barrier to that."
He says research shows students are more likely to succeed and graduate when a role model is present.
"Especially in an institution like this where a lot of people are coming to a bigger town living on their own for the first time, it can feel isolating not to have any person to look up to or identify with," said Manzer.
Now, Dr. Wainman uses his experiences to help students create their own unique "coming out" story.
"I talk with students in my office all the time about, openly and honestly, the challenges I faced and how I managed my way through them," the professor said.
He adds that students should never let fear get in the way of being their true selves.
"I'm a huge advocate of being perfectly, transparently who you are and nothing else."
National Coming Out Day started in 1988.