Lavender Graduation ceremony honors the achievements of LGBTQIA law, health sciences students

The Gender and LGBTQIA Center and the Division of Inclusive Excellence hosted the Lavender Graduation Ceremony for graduate and professional students completing their programs in December.

Elon University hosted its Lavender Graduation Ceremony recognizing five graduate and professional students from Elon’s School of Law and School of Health Sciences programs.

Students celebrating Lavender Graduation on December 7, 2023.

Lavender graduation is an event that celebrates queer and trans graduates from colleges and universities. Elon started this celebration back in 2012 for undergraduates and 2022 for graduate and professional students.

“On behalf of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center (GLC) professional staff, I want to extend congratulations to the graduates at our second annual Lavender Graduation for graduate and professional students,” said Luis Garay, director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center.

These members of the Class of 2023 who will graduate during commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 8, were joined by students, faculty, staff and family for this celebration.

“I want to celebrate and acknowledge your energy, mental capacity, resiliency, whatever it is for you for getting here to this moment,” said Garay.

Graduate and professional students received a rainbow stole and framed certificate only 24 hours before their graduate program commencement ceremonies. Before receiving the stole and certificate, students were honored by friends, family and faculty with a personal tribute read aloud.

Eva Waszak, Class of 2023 from Elon School of Law.

“During your journey at Elon you have been immersed in a transformative academic environment and engaged in experiential learning that have culminated in this moment,” Jonathan Monti ’08, Elon LGBTQIA alumni network leadership team said. “We welcome you into the family and community that is our alumni network.”

Closing out the ceremony, a member of Elon’s LGBTQIA Alumni Network offered a video message to these soon-to-be graduates.

Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, director of inclusive excellence for graduate and professional education and event organizer, gave closing remarks. “Thank you for your commitment and support of our graduates,” she said. “May we all live a life where we aren’t judged for our race, size, orientation or sparkle.”