Lavender Graduation Ceremony honors the achievements of LGBTQIA graduate students

Sponsored by the Division of Inclusive Excellence in collaboration with the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, the event offers an opportunity to celebrate graduate and professional students completing their programs in December.

Elon University hosted its Lavender Graduation Ceremony recognizing 11 graduate and professional students from Elon’s Law and School of Health Sciences programs on Thursday, Dec. 8 in Upstairs Lakeside.

Lavender Graduation at Elon University, December 8, 2022.

Students, faculty, staff and family gathered for an extraordinary celebration as members of the Class of 2022 received a rainbow stole and framed certificate 24 hours ahead of their graduate program commencement ceremonies. Students were honored individually as a tribute provided by a loved one was read aloud for each one.

The event began with a welcome by Luis Garay, director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, noting that this is the first time the event has been held for graduate and professional students who graduate in December.

Additionally, the event featured remarks from Randy Williams, vice president and associate provost for inclusive excellence. “I hope this event serves as further affirmation of your value at Elon and the world,” Williams said.

Lavender Graduation at Elon University, December 8, 2022.

“Graduates, please hold fast to the claim that you have a right to be here,” Williams said. “Your identities are a part of what makes you special and you have a right to be in any space you choose to occupy in accomplishing your goals.”

In closing, students viewed a video message from Elon’s LGBTQIA Alumni Network. Then, Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, director of Inclusive Excellence for Graduate and Professional Education and event organizer, closed the ceremony by saying, “May we all live a life where we aren’t judged for our race, size, orientation or sparkle.”