The annual Lavender Graduation honors LGBTQIA graduates who are undergraduates and graduate students at Elon University. Each graduate is recognized during the ceremony and receive a graduation stole, lavender graduation cap, rainbow tassel, and certificate. As a part of this ceremony, graduates, staff, and faculty receive awards as nominated and voted on by their peers.

Lavender Graduation is free to students and fully funded by donations to the Gender and LGBTQIA Center (GLC). To give to the GLC, visit our giving page.

What is Lavender Graduation?

Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor LGBTQIA students who are graduating by acknowledging their achievements in college as well as their contributions to the university. The 1st Lavender Graduation Ceremony in the U.S. was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo at the University of Michigan.  Over 100+ universities hold Lavender Graduation Ceremonies among the list of their university’s Commencement Ceremonies.

At Elon, any student about to graduate may be honored, including both undergraduate and graduate students.  Students receive a lavender cap, rainbow tassel (which can be worn at Elon’s Commencement), certificate, and graduate gift.

Why a Lavender Graduation Ceremony?

For decades students at colleges and universities around the country have been celebrating both their academic achievements and their cultural heritages at specialized commencement events. These events provide a sense of community for students who often experience tremendous culture shock at their institutions. Many students find these smaller ceremonies both meaningful and personal.

Lavender Graduation is an event to which LGBTQIA students look forward, where they not only share their hopes and dreams with one another, but where they are officially recognized by the institution for their leadership and their successes and achievements.

At Elon, awards are given out to students and employees including Outstanding Graduates, Employee of the Year, Event/Initiative of the Year, and Research Projects of the Year.  To read about Lavender Graduation 2021 click here.