Description Price Senate Finance
Honor Cords for Graduates



University Catering 1,218.88 600
Total 1,551.38 932.50


Background: The Lavender Celebration is an annual ceremony held on campuses across the country to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University. The Lavender Celebration was based on the Lavender Graduation Ceremony created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, who designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995. This year is the 3rd annual Lavender Celebration at MSU, which will include a keynote speaker, individual recognition of the participating graduates, awarding of lavender honor cords to be worn at the university commencement ceremony, and a reception to follow. Each year, we honor approximately 25 graduating students with 150 friends, family, and community members in attendance. This event communicates MSU's values of inclusion and honors LGBTQ students for their strength, individuality, and achievements.

Request: The lavender cords are a key part of Lavender Celebration, giving the event institutional meaning as part of the commencement activities. In addition, the cords at lavender celebration are presented to graduating students by a person they choose who has been influential in their lives. This may be a family member, partner, friend, mentor, or faculty member. Because LGBTQ students often face additional challenges in navigating their way to success, it is particularly important for students to have the opportunity to recognize those who helped them along the way.  The remainder of the funds requested would offset the costs of the reception for graduates and their families. Following the ceremony, guests are invited to an intimate reception to provide opportunities for mingling, congratulating students and their families, and continuing the celebration of these students’ accomplishments. Lavender-themed food and refreshments are provided by University Catering and tables and set up are provided by Conference and Event Services.

Impact and Implementation: Lavender Celebration provides a sense of community for LGBTQ students who often experience isolation, bias, and lack of support at their institution. For many students this is the payoff for staying in school, a celebration of their achievements and contributions. LGBTQ students, friends and families find the smaller, more personal ceremonies that recognize their identities more meaningful than other commencement activities. Through such recognition LGBTQ students may leave the university with a positive last experience of the institution thereby encouraging them to become involved mentors for current students as well as financially contributing alumni. Lavender Celebration is an event to which LGBTQ students look forward, where they not only share their hopes and dreams with one another, but where they are officially recognized by the institution for their leadership and their successes and achievements. This event also encourages younger LGBTQ students to persist by showing them positive and successful role models, and by illustrating the supportive environment that can exist for LGBTQ students at MSU.  The items requested in this proposal will support this year's Lavender Celebration. The lavender honor cords will be given to 2018 graduating students and the catering expenses will cover the costs of the 2018 reception. Ariel Donohue, Director of the Diversity & Inclusion Student Commons (DISC) will be responsible for overseeing the use of the funds.