Celebrating Alumni - Lavender Graduation

A brief history of Lavender Graduation

Since 2007, the GVSU campus community has celebrated the personal and academic achievements of our LGBTQIA+ graduating students at Lavender Graduation. This annual event is held each spring to recognize the many contributions our LGBTQIA+ students have made during their time on campus.

Lavender Graduation was first celebrated in 1995 at the University of Michigan to honor the accomplishments of LGBT and ally graduates. Ronni Sanlo, the director of the University of Michigan LGBT resource center at the time, believed LGBT students needed their own graduation ceremony like that of other racial and ethnic minorities on campus. Since 1995, campuses across the country have hosted their own Lavender Graduations to honor the accomplishments of LGBT graduates.

The color lavender is important to LGBT history and culture as it is a combination of pink and black: the colors of triangles gay men and lesbians, respectively, were required to wear as prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. The LGBT rights movement reclaimed these symbols of hatred to create a color symbolizing pride and community.

Missed Lavender Graduation?

We recognize that not all of our LGBTQIA+ alumni had the opportunity to participate in this important cultural ceremony. As we celebrate GVSU's 15th Lavender Graduation, we want to extend our recognition and appreciation to these alumni as important members of our diverse university community. Whether you graduated 30 or 3 years ago, we want to hear from you!

Simply email [email protected] and we will make arrangements to get you a Lavender Graduation rainbow tassel to honor you and your contributions to our community. 

Page last modified May 19, 2022