Lavender Pre-Commencement Ceremony

lavender sashes with rainbow colors across.

The Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration supports and recognizes our underrepresented community. Hosting this kind of ceremony is common among many community colleges and universities: Lavender Graduation - or, in our case, Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration. Similar to Veteran, Black, and Chicano Pre-Commencement Celebrations, the Lavender Pre-Commencement Celebration is a ceremony to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the College. Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQ students of all races and ethnicities and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the university as students who survived the college experience.

Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ civil rights movement combined these symbols of hatred to make symbols and colors of pride and community.

The importance of lavender in LGBTQ history cannot be overstated. It is a powerful combination of the pink triangle, which the Nazis used to identify gay men in concentration camps, and the black triangle, which was used to designate lesbians as political prisoners. Despite the historical context of these symbols as indicators of hatred and oppression, the LGBTQ civil rights movement has re-appropriated them as symbols of pride and community. Today, they serve as a reminder of the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ community throughout history.

The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Ronni Sanlo, then Director of the University of Michigan LGBT Campus Resource Center, designed and coordinated the first Lavender Graduation to acknowledge the achievements of three LGBTQ graduates in 1995. By 2001, over 45 institutions were holding Lavender Graduation Ceremonies, and the tradition continues to expand to additional colleges and universities Nationwide.

2025 Pre-Commencement Ceremony

Date: May 2025

Time: TBD

Location: TBD

RSVP: Lavender Pre-Commencement 2025

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