LGBTQIA will be honored at the Lavender Graduation ceremony

Thaija Evans, Staff Reporter

To unofficially accompany the upcoming Eastern graduation ceremony, EIU Pride will also host Lavender Graduation to support members of the LGBTQIA community.

Lavender graduation is a ceremony honoring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and ally students for their accomplishments and involvement at Eastern. Graduates from both the fall and spring semesters are welcome to register and attend.

Lavender Graduation has taken place on campus for the past five years.

Cameron Carrara, the EIU Pride graduate adviser, said Lavender Graduation has been around for two decades.

“The tradition of Lavender graduation began at the University of Michigan in 1995 with just three graduates,” Carrara said. “By 2001, there were over 45 institutions who were holding Lavender Graduation ceremonies. The tradition continues to expand to additional colleges and universities across the country.”

Both the former vice president of business affairs and vice president for student affairs, Bill Weber and Dan Nadler, respectively, will be at the ceremony.

Weber will address the graduates and attendees with an opening speech regarding a topic of his choice. Nadler will present each student with a certificate and rainbow cord that can be worn with their caps at Eastern’s commencement ceremony, said Carrara.

“The color lavender plays a historic role in LGBTQ history and in the community,” Carrara said. “It’s a combination of the colors pink and black, which were once used to identify and discriminate against gays and lesbians. The LGBTQ community has reclaimed lavender as symbol of pride and community.”

As a gift from the organization every graduate will receive a framed panoramic photo of Eastern’s castle lit up by rainbow colored lights. Weber created the photos.

The ceremony will take place on May 8 in the Atrium of the Tarble Arts Center.

Registration for this year’s graduation ceremony is still open for students who would like to participate. Those who would like to register can do so by going to the Eastern LGBTQA Resource Center website. If participants wish to receive a personalized certificate during the ceremony, they must register by 5 p.m. Monday.

“Lavender Graduation builds on the university-wide commencement events as an officially supported ceremony celebrating and recognizing the contributions and achievements of our LGBTQ and ally seniors to the EIU community,” Carrara said.

The ceremony is not meant to replace EIU’s graduation ceremony, but coincide with it, Carrara said.

Thaija Evans can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].