Lavender Graduation

Lavender Graduation celebrates Louisiana State University's LGBTQ+ community and honors the academic achievements of graduating LGBTQ+ students. The Lavender Graduation Ceremony does not replace the students' commencement; instead it is a presentation of their lavender cords which can be worn during their LSU graduation ceremony.

Lavender Graduation Ceremony

May 15, 2024

Business Education Complex

Lavender Graduations are annual ceremonies which are conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students of all races and ethnicities and to acknowledge their achievements and their contributions to their respective Universities. Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, created the original Lavender Ceremony in 1995 at the University of Michigan with only three students. By 2019, over 175 universities nationwide will have celebrated a Lavender Graduation Ceremony.

“Lavender Graduation is an event to which LGBTQ students look forward, where they not only share their hopes and dreams with one another, but where they are officially recognized by the institution for their leadership and their successes and achievements.”[1]

The first Lavender Graduation at Louisiana State University was hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs in May of 2013. Twenty students walked across the Student Union's Royal Cotillion Ballroom stage to accept their lavender stole and were celebrated by family and friends in the audience. Since 2013, the ceremony has moved from presenting students with stoles to cords; allowing more flexibility in their graduation regalia. Currently, Lavender Graduation at LSU only occurs in the Spring semesters.

Before popular use of the color pink and the rainbow, lavender was largely associated with the LGBTQ+ community for several reasons. First, lavender "is a blend of the traditionally gender-identified colors pink and blue, blurring the lines, subverting and challenging gender norms." Second, "lavender is a shade of purple, which has an association with royalty, and our community is full of queens, kings and other fabulous titles." And finally, "the purple stripe on the rainbow flag symbolizes the spirit of the LGBTQ community."