What is a Lavender Celebration/Graduation?
Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony held on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University. The Lavender Celebration is based on the Lavender Graduation Ceremony created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995. By 2001, there were over 45 Lavender Graduation Ceremonies at Colleges and Universities nationwide and, by the most recent count, 176 colleges and universities host an annual Lavender Graduation. (Human Rights Campaign)
The MSU Lavender Celebration 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.
Why a Lavender Celebration?
The Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons is holding a lavender celebration ceremony at MSU to recognize the achievements and contributions of graduating LGBTQIA and Ally students. A Lavender Celebration recognizes LGBTQIA and Ally students of all races and ethnicities and acknowledges their achievements of successfully completing the college experience. Lavender Celebrations are events to which LGBTQIA and Ally students can look forward, and they are opportunities for students to be officially recognized and celebrated by the institution.
For decades, students at colleges and universities around the country have been celebrating both their academic achievements and their cultural heritages at specialized commencement events. Many of these events are student-initiated and occur during the university-wide commencement weekend. These events provide a sense of community for minority students who often experience a lack of belonging or lack of acceptance at their institutions. For many students, these celebrations are the payoff for staying in school and friends and families find the smaller ceremonies both meaningful and personal.
Who can participate in the Lavender Celebration?
Any graduating students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community or as Allies of the LGBTQIA community are welcome to participate in this celebration. Any students graduating in May 2019 or December 2018 are eligible to participate.