Lavender Graduation

Purple flowers in a round, glass vase next to the 2023 Lav Grad itinerary

Thank you for a wonderful celebration!

Lavender Graduation 2023 occurred on April 20. Visit this page in 2024 for details about our next celebration. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected].


Outstanding LGBTQIA+ Graduate Award


This award will be given to an exceptional student graduating in the Fall or Winter semester of 2024 (undergraduate or graduate) who self-identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. We seek to recognize a student who has excelled in leadership and academically during their time at Grand Valley. We accept both external and self-nominations.

Candidate Criteria: 

  1. Must be graduating from GVSU in 2024 (undergraduate or graduate). 
  2. Must show impressive participation in extracurricular activities in the GVSU community and/or Grand Rapids community. 
  3. Must demonstrate exceptional ability to balance both academic responsibility and extracurriculars. 

Nominations will be reviewed by the Academic Awards Subcommittee of the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center Support Committee. The award recipient will be notified in April and recognized at Lavender Graduation.

Nomination Form:

The nomination form is currently unavailable, but will be opened in winter semester of 2024.

About the Event

Mission: Celebrating the personal and academic achievements of LGBTQIA+ and allied students and recognizing their contributions to our campus.

Program: Welcome and remarks, Awards, Keynote Address, Recognition of Graduates, Reception with hors d'oeuvres and music. 

Cultural Context
Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQIA+ students' contributions to the university and acknowledges their achievements during their college experience. Students are officially recognized by the institution for their leadership, success, and achievement.

Historical Context
Lavender Graduation began in 1995 at the University of Michigan to honor the accomplishments of LGBT and allied graduates. Ronni Sanlo, the director of the resource center at that 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.


Page last modified May 8, 2023