On April 27, 2018, Virginia Commonwealth University hosted its’ seventh annual Lavender Graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and all other marginalized sexual and gender students. This year’s theme was Limit.Less, which acknowledges the challenges faced by lavender graduates while offering encouragement regarding all the possibilities of the future.
Addressing the Limit.Less theme was keynote speaker Paolo Andino, an actor and artist best known for his work as a cast member on Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show who holds an MFA in theatre from University of Missouri – Kansas City. Andino’s speech resonated with those in attendance.
“I came out very recently, honestly, so I haven’t had very much experience with the gay community around VCU, but the time that I have now has been enjoyable. I really appreciated the keynote speaker that we had today. He said a lot of things that I felt, too, and that I support. It was really enjoyable for everybody,” Dondre Mclean, lavender graduate, senior, criminal justice and psychology, said.
Lavender graduates received rainbow cords to wear during their VCU Commencement activities. Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the Academic Learning Commons lobby attended by the graduates, friends and family.
Congratulations to all of this year’s lavender graduates! Limit.Less!
To learn more about Lavender Graduation, visit www.lavgrad.vcu.edu.
History of Lavender Graduation:
The color lavender is symbolic of LGBTQIA+ history. The color represents a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQIA+ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make a symbol and color of pride and community.
A VCU tradition since 2012, lavender graduation ceremonies originated on the campus of the University of Michigan in 1995. Since then, lavender graduation ceremonies have become common across universities across the country. Today, VCU is one of 93 U.S. colleges and universities to hold lavender graduations and has recognized more than 350 graduates since the first ceremony was held in 2012.