Lavender Graduation

The History of Lavender Graduation

The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995.  This special ceremony serves to celebrate LGBTQ students and student allies of all races and ethnicities for their achievements and contributions to the university during their tenure. This is a cultural celebration that recognizes the difficulties of achieving in a climate that is often less than desirable for LGBTQ students and allies.

Lavender Graduation at UNC Asheville

Held once each semester (Fall & Spring), Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes graduating LGBTQIA students of all backgrounds. During this ceremony, these students’ accomplishments are recognized and we celebrate their impact on the UNC Asheville campus!¬†Students’ friends and/or families have the opportunity to speak to and about the graduate, telling others of the student’s accomplishments, expressing their pride, and offering well wishes for the future. The speaker then drapes the cord over the student’s shoulders, symbolic of embracing the past and welcoming the future.