A new group representing openly gay university and college presidents formed over the weekend in Chicago.

Nine presidents joined to form the group LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education. Twenty-five known leaders were invited, the online journal Inside Higher Ed reported.

The effort is being spearhead by Raymond E. Crossman, president of the Adler School of Professional Psychology, and Charles R. Middleton, president of Roosevelt University, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The group says it wants to help promote more gay academics to positions of leadership and advocate on behalf of gay-related issues.

Ralph Hexter married his partner of 30 years, Manfred Kollmeier, in 2007, after two years at the helm of Hampshire College in Massachusetts, the first state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry five years ago.

“One of the hallmarks of our group is that we are out LGBT, and we all know there are many others who for whatever reasons – their regions, their personal situations, their institutions – are not out,” Hexter said. “This is not an organization that will push anyone out of the closet, but maybe more people will look at us and say, 'Hey, these people are OK.'”

“I think you are going to see a lot more [gay college presidents] in the next five years,” he added.