Pride Wolf

Lavender Graduation, hosted by the GLBT Center, takes place in Talley Student Union’s Coastal Ballroom on Wednesday, April 20, from 6-8:30 p.m, as a way to commemorate and celebrate graduates who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The GLBT Center’s website defines Lavender Graduation as “an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and asexual and aromantic students, and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the university.”

The team for the event includes GLBT Center Assistant Director Rain Garant, GLBT Center Assistant Director Andy DeRoin, Women’s Center Senior Director Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote and Interim Administrative Support Specialist Rachel Broadaway.

Garant is the lead planner for the Lavender Graduation and started working on the planning process in October of last year. 

“As the lead planner, I have been the one who has steered the direction of conversations and has brought ideas to the table,” Garant said. “In terms of theme, who our keynote speaker should be, what our room reservation and what the event logistics look like.”

NC State’s Lavender Graduation ceremony is part of a long tradition which spans the country.

“Lavender Graduations as a whole started in the ‘90s and late 2000s across college campuses,”  Garant said. “They were started out in California, as a way to specifically honor the ways that LGBTQ+ graduates have worked harder in different ways than some of their peers.”

Garant said LGBTQ+ students have worked harder in different ways than other students and that it's important to honor them for this reason. He also said it is important for these students to be recognized by their correct names and pronouns, whereas general commencement might not recognize their correct title.

“Lavender Graduation is a way where folks can be honored as their full and true selves as graduates and celebrate all they've accomplished in their time at college,” Garant said.

Graduates attend the event alongside friends, families and supporters who they choose to invite. The graduation will be 2 1/2 hours. In order to ensure the privacy of all attendees the graduation will not be live-streamed, and everyone has been asked to provide consent before any pictures are taken with them in it. 

During the first 30 minutes, students and family can mingle and eat appetizers before a 15-minute keynote speaker, the director of the LGBTQ+ Center of Durham, J Clapp, takes the stage. Students can nominate themselves or others for awards that will be handed out during the ceremony. 

“We have two student awards,” DeRoin said. “One is the leadership award for students who have demonstrated leadership in the LGBT community on campus and then an activism award for those who have demonstrated intersectional social justice liberation work.”

Finally, the GLBT Center will recognize a community member associated with NC State who has made a large impact on the community. 

If you have any questions about upcoming events and ways to get involved with the GLBT Center you can email the center or visit its NC State website page