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.
Lavender Graduation at UW Oshkosh
Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. in Sage 1234
Our own Lavender Graduation Ceremony began in 2004 with Mike Altekruse as the first keynote speaker. Since its inception, the LGBTQIA+ community of UW Oshkosh has honored 96 LGBTQIA+ and ally graduates.
Apply for Graduation
We are honored to continue this legacy and welcome any LGBTQIA+ or ally students of UW Oshkosh to apply to participate in this meaningful event.