The GLBT Center will host its annual Lavender Graduation to celebrate students graduating in the spring, summer or fall of 2017. The ceremony honors lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally students and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the university.
Created in 1995 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo at the University of Michigan, the first Lavender Graduation created a space for GLBT students to feel supported by their university and affirmed in their identities.
This year’s NC State Lavender Graduation will feature remarks from Dr. Linda McCabe Smith, vice provost for institutional equity, and John Miller IV, a graduating Master’s student in higher education administration. The alumni address will be given by Alaina Kupec. Kupec graduated from NC State in 1992 and has been visible in her fight for transgender rights. She was featured in the 60-second public service advertisement advocating for legal protections for the transgender community as well as a repeal of laws that deny access to public restrooms on the basis of gender orientation. Her advertisement aired during both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions of 2016. Kupec currently serves as the co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Transgender Equality Legal Defense and Education Fund.
During this year’s ceremony, the GLBT Center will relaunch two awards for student leadership and activism. The Thomas H. Stafford Leadership Award will recognize a student who has demonstrated service to the GLBT community through peer education, peer mentoring, community building and/or community outreach or service. The Evelyn Q. Reiman Activism Award will recognize a student who has worked to increase awareness about social justice issues, identify strategies for enacting change, engage peers in social justice activism and/or foster collaboration across communities to address campus or community climate concerns.
Lavender Graduation will take place on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in the Piedmont Mountains Ballroom of Talley Student Union. This event is open to students, faculty, and staff members.
Preston Keith is assistant director of the GLBT Center.