Alumnus Donates Archives From Major News Site He Founded

Tim Pratt '11
October 04, 2010

In the early 1990s, Viscount Rob Sands ’68 recognized that there was an information gap that could be addressed using new emerging technology called the Internet.

Sands, who worked as a journalist at the CBC, CTV, and Rogers Broadcasting, used his skills as a journalist, 25 MB of space from his Internet provider, and a free version of Front Page to post his first hypertext document on what became his website, 365gay.com.

Eventually 365gay.com became a leading source for breaking news stories, entertainment, interviews, sports, travel, health, opinion, and free video for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

“The archives of 365gay.com serves as a time capsule of the ongoing struggle for equality and gay rights as it unfolded during the first decade of the 21st century. By searching the archives, it is possible to track the progress, as well as the setbacks that occurred in such diverse areas as the legalization of gay marriage, the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS, and the effort to extend federal hate crimes legislation in the wake of Matthew Shepard’s brutal murder.”

At a ceremony held September 24, Sands donated the archives of 365gay.com to Emerson College. These archives will be available to students and faculty who are interested in researching the origin and development of the first major international LBGT news and information site on the Internet.

Robert Fleming, Executive Director of the Iwasaki Library at Emerson, is “incredibly pleased and honored,” that Sands has decided to donate the archives. He believes that the addition of these archives serves an important purpose for Emerson, considering the school’s commitment to and support of the gay community.

“The archives of 365gay.com serves as a time capsule of the ongoing struggle for equality and gay rights as it unfolded during the first decade of the 21st century,” Fleming explained. “By searching the archives, it is possible to track the progress, as well as the setbacks that occurred in such diverse areas as the legalization of gay marriage, the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS, and the effort to extend federal hate crimes legislation in the wake of Matthew Shepard’s brutal murder.”

“Rob provides a vivid example of how an alumnus of the College used the lessons he learned as an Emerson student to make a meaningful contribution to his profession and to his community,” Fleming added. “He empowered the LGBT community in ways that will resonate for years to come.”

Sands sold 365gay.com to New York-based Viacom a decade after it launched. He is currently the owner of RGS Media and is involved with a number of charitable foundations and organizations. In 2007, he established a scholarship at Emerson College in the field of communication and is involved in mentoring programs for young entrepreneurs.

Photo above From left: EAGLE President Adriana Guida,
College President Jackie Liebergott, former LGBT Commissioner
Tau Zaman, and Robert Sands '68