The annual Lavender Graduation, also referred to as LavGrad, is a celebration to honor LGBTQ+ graduates of the University of Michigan. Established by Ronni Sanlo in 1995, the University of Michigan was the first commemorative event of its kind celebrated at an institution of higher learning. This commencement ceremony acknowledges the contributions of any graduate from any school/college at the university and of any academic level.
Considering the University of Michigan’s suspension of all in-person commencements, the Spectrum Center will replace the day-of ceremony and offer alternative opportunities to highlight this year’s graduating class. Currently, the recognition and celebration of LGBTQ+ graduating students will be happening remotely in April 2021.
We are excited to invite graduating students at the University of Michigan who identify within the LGBTQ+ community to register for this year's Lavender Graduation. Participants, registering prior to the deadline, can opt-in to receive 2021 rainbow tassels, lavender cords, and Lavender Degrees. The deadline to register is Sunday, April 4, 2021. Graduating students who register after the aforementioned deadline are welcome to participate in LavGrad celebrations. However, they will not be receiving rainbow tassels, lavender cords, nor Lavender Degree.
Keynote Speaker and Lavender Honorary Degree Recipient
Every year, Spectrum Center invites an individual who has graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to deliver a heartwarming speech while sending LGBTQ+ graduating students off. This year, David Green Jr., Ph.D. has been selected as the keynote speaker and Lavender Honorary Degree Recipient.
David Green is a black queer feminist educator, social justice activist, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practitioner. He is a first-generation college student, grew up in the "hood" of Jacksonville, FL, and owes much of his literacy development to the Boy & Girls Club of NE Florida. He enjoys poetry and, as a flutist, playing music. He is also a health & wellness advocate and loves running, museums & the outdoors.
David Green is a literary and cultural historian whose research attends to black queer cultures in the United States. His current research centers on ways that black queer writers and cultural workers engage questions of freedom and justice in their writings and performance arts across the twentieth century.
Awards Categories & Nominations
During the Lavender Graduation ceremony, Spectrum Center recognizes the accomplishments of the graduating class by awarding several individuals and groups who have impacted the LGBTQ+ community. The award categories are:
- Ronni Sanlo Cornerstone Award
- Excellence in Student Leadership
- Intersectional Advocacy Award
- Inspirational Influence Award
- Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
We invite students, staff, and faculty members at the University of Michigan to nominate a graduating student. For additional details about the award description or to nominate someone, please click on the button below.