Lavender Graduation and Awards Ceremony honors excellence among LGBTQIA students, employees and events

Sponsored by the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, the event marked its 11th anniversary on Friday, May 5, and offered an opportunity to honor outstanding students, faculty and staff.

Elon University hosted its 11th annual Lavender Graduation and Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 5, to recognize members of the student body, university employees, undergraduate research and events for excellence.

Students, faculty and staff gathered in McKinnon Hall for the special celebration, with each member of the Class of 2023 in attendance receiving a rainbow stole, lavender graduation cap, a rainbow tassel and a framed certificate from the Registrar’s Office. Each graduate was given the opportunity to bring a guest who to bestow the stole to them. With 81 participants, this year’s celebration was the largest in the university’s history and saw an increase of 30 participants over the previous year.

The event was emceed by Luis Garay, director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, with congratulatory remarks by President Connie Ledoux Book and a message from Sarah Majors ’16, who serves on the LGBTQIA Alumni Network. The event featured chocolate from Eigen Chocolate, a queer-owned chocolate shop based in High Point, North Carolina.

The following were honored at Lavender Graduation 2023:

Outstanding Graduates

  • Billie Waller

  • Kennedy Boston

Employee of the Year

  • Michael Abernethy, communications specialist for Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences

Event/Initiative of the Year

  • LUMINOSITY, a Queer Arts Festival

Research Project/Scholar of the Year

  • Jack Morrill ’23 for “Queer Theory and Arts Administration Practices: How might a queer values system change the way theatrical organizations operate?”