If you haven’t noticed, it’s graduation season and although most of them are boring, there is one that happens every year at UCLA which is fun, inspirational, and moving… even if you don’t personally know any of the graduates.
The UCLA Lavender Graduation was established in 1998 by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, Director of the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT college students. Dr. Sanlo and her staff manages to bring together year after year are an amazing group of people… from the amazing graduates, to the numerous members of faculty of administration, to family members, to community supporters… who come together to celebrate what the graduating LGBT students have accomplished.
What’s remarkable about this graduation celebration is that it is only one of a handful of higher learning institutions which officially recognize LGBT students for their achievements and contributions to the university. UCLA was one of the first to start this wonderful tradition and this year’s ceremony, the 9th, features keynote speaker, Bruce Vilanch. So I doubt this one will be boring!
I’ve personally attended this event about every other year (some years I knew a graduate or two, others I didn’t know anyone) and I have always come away with it with such hope for our future and pride for the students who are brave enough to stand in front of their friends as they celebrate such a momentous event in their lives.
Oh, and I love that each student gets a rainbow tassel. How cool is that?!
9th annual UCLA LAVENDER GRADUATION
June 17th, 2006, 12:30 PM at the Korn Convocation Hall in the UCLA Anderson School of Management
Distinguished Service by an LGBT Alumnus to the LGBT Community Award: honoring philanthropist Roberta Conroy, presented by 2005 recipient Paul Colichman, founder of here! TV.
Keynote Speaker: Bruce Vilanch
Music by Vox Femina Los Angeles
Sen. Sheila Kuehl, California Senate
Judy Chaisson, Project 10
Moof Mayeda, NGLTF
Harold Kamaya, API PFLAG
Janina Montero, UCLA Vice Chancellor Student Affairs
Peter Hayashida, UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor
Rae Lee Siporin, Rae Lee Siporin Library at the UCLA LGBT Center
UPDATE: Check out my post for some of my favorite quotes from the 2006 Lavender Grad.