PROVO — Ellen DeGeneres gave $10,000 to BYU political science valedictorian Matt Easton during a taped interview that was scheduled to air on her show Monday.
The appearance was another example of the broad national media attention garnered by Easton after he spoke during the April 26 convocation ceremony for BYU's College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences in the Marriott Center and said, "I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God."
BYU admits openly gay students but its honor code proscribes acting on same-sex attraction.
Easton, who is from Cottonwood Heights, Utah, told his family, some faculty and friends that he was gay while a student, but he spoke to Ellen about his decision to publicly share the information during his speech after he was selected from among his college's valedictorians to deliver a speech that was approved by the college dean.
Easton also spoke about navigating his sexuality and his faith as a member of BYU's sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said he hoped speaking publicly will help other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students feel comfortable being open about their lives.
Ellen surprised Easton with the cash gift, which she said was to help him get settled as he works this summer and makes plans to apply for graduate school. The cash was provided by Shutterfly.