The University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs will celebrate the accomplishments of LGBT and allied graduates at its first Lavender Graduation ceremony at 1 p.m. May 14 in the Royal Cotillion Ballroom of the Student Union.
Although the University’s Spectrum organization has hosted Lavender Graduation ceremonies for its members in previous years, this year’s ceremony will mark the first time a University office sponsors the event on campus.
Chad Freeman, graduate assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ LGBTQ Project and Safe Space Campaign, said the ceremony will be open to all students graduating this spring, summer and fall who are members of the LGBT community or consider themselves allies to the community. The Office of Multicultural Affairs is partnering with Spectrum for the event, he said.
Freeman said the ceremony’s two keynote speakers will be former Student Government President Taylor Cox and Laurie Braden, director of University Recreation. Associate professor Elaine Maccio will announce graduates during the ceremony’s processional, he said.
Cox said he plans to stress the importance of participants representing the University and the LGBT community as they enter the world after college.
Participating students will receive lavender stoles with gold writing if they have pre-ordered them, Freeman said. He said students who have not pre-ordered stoles are still welcome to participate in the ceremony.
Freeman said the Office of Multicultural Affairs is offering an open invitation to all faculty and staff who would like to attend the ceremony in full commencement regalia and seats will be reserved for them.
Biological engineering senior and outgoing Spectrum president Kameron Kilchrist said he is looking forward to participating in the Lavender Graduation.
“It’s a really important time for the community to come together and recognize our shared success,” Kilchrist said.
Cox said the University sponsoring a Lavender Graduation for the first time is a step in the right direction.
“It obviously has shown that we as an institution are moving forward to promote equality,” Cox said. “I just think it’s a really great thing.”