The annual lavender graduation honors LGBTQIA and Ally graduating seniors, as well as students, faculty and staff who have advanced inclusion, support and education around LGBTQIA identities at Elon.

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 students 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), framed certificate, alumni gift, and the opportunity to bring guests to sit at their table during the dinner ceremony.

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 Highest GPA, Student of the Year, Breakout Student of the Year, Student Research of the Year, Employee of the Year, Department of the Year, Community Excellence, and Event of the Year.  By doing so, we acknowledge the full support of students and faculty/staff mentors in helping to build a more inclusive community for LGBTQIA students at Elon.