Honoring Lavender Graduates, Advancing LGBTQIA Inclusion

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

Nearly 120 students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered May 5 for Elon’s 2014 Lavender Graduation and Awards Dinner. Hosted by Matthew Antonio Bosch, director of the Gender & LGBTQIA Center, the speakers included opening congratulatory remarks by President Leo M. Lambert and alumni speaker, Caleb Tabor ’09, who shared his vision as a Lavender Graduate for a future united in resilience, integrity and community.

A packed room of LavGrad supporters for LGBTQIA inclusion.
A packed room of LavGrad supporters for LGBTQIA inclusion.[/caption]Among the night’s honorees were the 2014 cohort of 16 “Lavender Graduates,” a term that honors ​​the accomplishments of LGBTQI & Ally graduating seniors who have helped to advance LGBTQIA inclusion across Elon. Additionally, nearly 200 votes were cast across six major categories of LGBTQIA inclusion.

Following a more than quadruple increase this year in alumni and employee donations to the LGBTQIA-designated fund, in large part due to Elon’s growing LGBTQIA Alumni Network, Elon University awarded its first complete set of LGBTQI & Ally student scholarships based on leadership, service and grade point average. The Lavender Graduates had a GPA of 3.6, while Katie Goulah and Kyle Whitaker earned scholarships for highest GPAs in the cohort. Additionally, scholarships were awarded to juniors, sophomores and first-year students in categories including “Student of the Year,” “Breakout Student of the Year” and “Academic Research of the Year.”

The night was bookended by a pair of musical performances. Opening with a live vocal Frozen/Pharrell mashup, a photo slideshow showcased the Lavender Graduates and their accomplishments, plus 2013-2014 advancements in LGBTQIA inclusion. Highlights included the presence of 13 student volunteers in the new Gender & LGBTQIA Center, the new LGBTQIA Employee Resource Group, the new Gender & Sexuality Living Learning Community, the inclusion of preferred names on university records, and 3,200 minutes of LGBTQIA education across high-impact student leader groups and guest lectures in academic classrooms. The night ended with a performance by Elon a cappella group, Twisted Measure, which included a Lavender Graduate singing a final solo performance.

2014 Cohort of LGBTQI & Ally Lavender Graduates
2014 Cohort of LGBTQI & Ally Lavender Graduates[/caption]Here is a list of the 2014 Cohort of LGBTQI & Ally Lavender Graduates and Awardees:

LGBTQI & Ally Lavender Graduates:  Callan Andreacchi / Ashley Fowler / Katie Goulah / Katherine Hockaday / Kyle Keith / Peter Kesaris / Bryn Khoury / Lindsey Langdon / Eve Markovitz / Kevin Moore / Michelle Nussbaum / Marissa Rurka / Gloria So / Erin Strosnider / Kyle Whitaker / Jaden Lucas Wilkes

Highest Cumulative GPA:  Katie Goulah / Kyle Whitaker

Students of the Year:  Ashley Fowler / Lindsey Langdon / Robbie Linklater

Breakout Students of the Year:  Alex Vandermaas-Peeler / Claire Lockard / Olivia Guerrieri

Faculty/Staff of the Year:  John Pickett / Leigh-Anne Royster / Kate Bruce

Department of the Year:  Women’s and Gender Studies

Event of the Year:  Spectrum’s Dragstravaganza / EFFECT’s Vagina Monologues

Inspirational Ally Award:  René Jackson

Legacy Award:  Hillary Bruce / Kevin Morrison

Academic Research of the Year:  Ashley Fowler “Human Rights Norm Change:  LGBT Rights in an Enlarged Europe” / Josh Kaufmann & Marissa Rurka “Authenticity, Sexual Orientation, and Mental Health”

Gender & LGBTQIA Center Volunteers:  Justin Brown / Ray Dietz / Katie Goulah / Olivia Guerrieri / Josh Kaufmann / Virginia Kluiters / Cassidy Levy / Robbie Linklater / Sophie Natan / Becca Nipper / Krysten O’Hara / Kyle Whitaker / Jaden Lucas Wilkes

Presidential LGBTQIA Task Force:  Matthew Antonio Bosch / Hillary Bruce / Naeemah Clark / Mary Jo Festle / Tom Flood / Gerry Francis / Bryn Khoury / Claire Lockard / Rich Mihans / Jessie Moore / Rod Parks / Toddie Peters / John Pickett / Gabie Smith