Our Lavender Graduation
Our graduation honors and celebrates our LGBTQIA+ student graduates on their HUGE accomplishment. We ask them to provide us with a staff and/or faculty member who has shared memories and accomplishments with them to speak on their behalf. Not only is cake and punch a part of our party, but we offer an opportunity for all members of our campus to join us in our joyous celebration.
In the Fall semester, we offer a smaller more intimate ceremony at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Don’t worry- we still offer cake!
In the Spring semester, we host our celebration in Reeve Union with a keynote speaker, speeches, and a special spotlight for our LGBTQIA+ advocates who are graduating.
Every graduating student receives a free rainbow cord to wear on Commencement and a signed certificate.
Fall 2022 Semester
Wednesday, December 14
LGBTQ+ Resource Center
Spring 2023 Semester
Wednesday, May 3
Reeve Memorial Union, 227
Lavender Graduation History
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was 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. This special ceremony serves to celebrate LGBTQ+ students and student allies of all races and ethnicities for their achievements and contributions to the university during their tenure. This is a cultural celebration that recognizes the difficulties of achieving in a climate that is often less than desirable for LGBTQ+ students and allies.
Dr. Sanlo chose lavender for its unique importance to LGBTQ+ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ+ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols and color of pride and community.