Lavender Graduation Celebrates Students Across the Spectrum

By UM News

Lavender Graduation Celebrates Students Across the Spectrum

By UM News
The University's Lavender Celebration recognized the accomplishments of LGBTQ students and the strides the U has made to create a safe, inclusive campus.

Two dozen soon-to-be University of Miami graduates, their guests, and allies happily weathered the dark and thundering skies Tuesday evening to attend the University’s second annual Lavender Celebration, which recognized the accomplishments of UM’s LGBTQ students and the strides the U has made to create a safe, inclusive campus that nurtures their academic and personal goals.

Lavender CelebrationThe evening at the Lowe Art Museum began with a lavender-themed networking reception with faculty, staff, students, families, and administrators and closed with a processional with each attending graduate receiving a rainbow cord he or she can wear at their general commencement ceremony.

Kate Lake, senior director of alumni engagement, member of the LGBTQ Task Force and Implementation Committee, and staff liaison to the LGBTQ ’Canes, opened the program by introducing Patricia A. Whitely, Ed.D. ’94, vice president for student affairs, who highlighted the work of the LGBTQ Task Force and Implementation Committee and the many new initiatives UM has launched on campus and with alumni relations to support UM’s LGBTQ community. 

Andrew Wiemer, director for the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership and co-chair of the LGBTQ Task Force and Implementation Committee, shared the history and significance of the Lavender Celebration, which evolved from a humble celebration in 1995 of three graduates at the University of Michigan to hundreds of lavender graduations occurring annually across the globe. 

“A Lavender Graduation is a traditional celebration that is conducted on countless campuses to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, along with allies—who do not identify as LGBTQ but are welcomed for their support,” Weimer said.  “It is a time to celebrate our diverse students from across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and to acknowledge student achievements and contributions to the University.”  

Following Weimer’s remarks, Judson Dry, B.B.A. ’07, president of the LGBTQ ’Canes Alumni Affiliate Group, welcomed the new graduates to the alumni family and shared his vision for the affiliate group, encouraging students to join the group and take a leadership role. He also invited them to attend Global Networking Night and the fall LGBTQ ’Canes reunion during Alumni Weekend November 4.