NC State’s annual Lavender Graduation brings our entire GLBT community together to celebrate the success of our students. Any GLBT student can participate in the ceremony. (Students don’t need to have been involved in any GLBT student organizations or have engaged with the GLBT Center prior to graduation.) We invite all GLBT graduates to participate and be recognized.
This year’s event will take place on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the State Ballroom, Talley Student Union. If you will be graduating in spring or fall of 2019 or if you graduated in fall 2018, you are invited to participate in this year’s ceremony. Please register online by April 5, 2019.
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo at the University of Michigan in 1995 that is now conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the university.
“One of the greatest aspects of Lavender Graduation is that the GLBT Center staff take the time to individually celebrate the accomplishments of each graduate in their own words and perspective. This part of the ceremony recognizes both traditional accomplishments, like job acquisition or graduate school enrollment, but allows graduates to share what is most meaningful to them. The sense of pride, community and support in the room is palpable, and unlike any other graduation experience at NC State,” says Assistant Director of New Student Programs Genna Martella.
Senior Victor Eduardo attended last year’s event, which broke the record for attendance to date. “Members of the GLBT community have had to remain silent about their identities both historically and in the present day. Many members of our community who want to attend college don’t even make it because they are bullied, kicked out of their homes or struggle to find their voices in schools. In college, GLBT students often face resistance against who they are, facing challenges with gender-inclusive housing and athletic dress codes, homophobic and transphobic roommate conflicts and instructors with outdated, oppressive views on the community. Lavender Graduation is a recognition of the people who have ‘made it,’ an acknowledgement of the challenges that GLBT students have faced in reaching that point, and an affirming celebration of GLBT identities. As a popular event, Lavender Graduation shows the campus community that there is a home for the GLBT community at NC State, a caring family who wants to celebrate the accomplishments of these students, and an invitation to the campus community to keep pushing against the barriers that hold them back,” he says.
“Many GLBT students don’t have a family or community that would otherwise support their accomplishments – Lavender Graduation offers that! NC State as an institution communicates to its marginalized students that it is there to support them (with the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity and its community centers as some providers of that), and Lavender Graduation is an iconic representation of that support,” he adds.
We look forward to welcoming even more of our GLBT community at this year’s Lavender Graduation.
Andy DeRoin is program coordinator for the GLBT Center.