Office of Multicultural Affairs to Hold Commencement Celebrations

05/14/2014 11:11 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs will host two celebrations – Lavender Graduation and the Robing Ceremony – in advance of the university’s spring commencement ceremonies.

The LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs, or OMA, strives to facilitate the academic excellence, personal growth and social experiences of all students with specific commitments to students of color and other traditionally underrepresented groups. Through programming efforts, the staff of OMA coordinates, implements and executes comprehensive educational, cultural and social activities that reflect the cultural diversity LSU has to offer.

Lavender Graduation – Wednesday, May 14, at 2 p.m.
LSU students will participate in the Lavender Graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 14, at 2 p.m. in the African American Cultural Center. A reception will follow immediately after the ceremony.

Lavender Graduation is a celebration to honor the accomplishments of LSU’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or LGBTQ, and allied students who successfully completed their college careers and received an undergraduate or graduate degree at LSU.

At the ceremony, degree candidates will be recognized and honored to signify the completion of their academic journey. Keynote addresses will be given by Stephen Handwerk, the executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party and a cofounder of the statewide coalition Equality Louisiana, and graduating senior Melanie Stapleton, who serves as the outgoing president of Spectrum, the LSU student organization for LGBTQ students and their allies. Parents, faculty members, university officials and fellow students are expected to attend.

This year will be the second year that Lavender Graduation is being sponsored by the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Safe Space Campaign/LGBTQ Project.

The original Lavender Graduation was held at the University of Michigan in 1995. Lavender Graduation celebrations are now held at universities throughout the nation, including the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee.

For more information about Lavender Graduation, contact Micah Caswell, graduate assistant for the LGBTQ Project and Safe Space Campaign, at 225-578-4339.

Robing Ceremony – Thursday, May 15, at 4 p.m.
More than 600 African and African-American students will have the opportunity to participate in the LSU African American Cultural Center’s 18th annual Robing Ceremony on Thursday, May 15, at 4 p.m. in the Bo Campbell Auditorium at the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.

The Robing Ceremony honors and celebrates African and African American students who have successfully completed their college careers and will be receiving an undergraduate or graduate degree at LSU. This event, which resembles traditional African ceremonies, is held at the end of each spring semester.

At the ceremony, degree candidates receive the traditional African Kente stole, woven in LSU colors, to signify the completion of their academic journey. The patterns and colors woven into the Kente represent distinctive qualities exemplified by LSU graduates. The colors purple and gold not only represent the great tradition of the university, but also royalty and precious metals. Parents, faculty members or significant persons to the graduate participate in the ceremony by robing the students with the stole.

Kenneth Miles, interim-vice provost for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach, will give the welcome address, and President and Chancellor F. King Alexander will be making special remarks. Roland Mitchell, associate professor & associate director in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education, will give the graduate charge and community response, and graduating senior Jared Williams will give remarks on behalf of the class of 2014.

This year, there will be a special added segment to the program that will honor the 1964 undergraduate students who integrated LSU that same year. Each former student will receive an honorary kente cloth and special recognition during the program. A Karimu, or Feast of Joy, reception will follow.

The Robing Ceremony is celebrating its 18th anniversary. In 1996, Gwendolyn E. Snearl and Tayarikwa Salaam developed a program to honor and celebrate the achievements of African-American students graduating from LSU and the Robing Ceremony was born. The Robing Ceremony recognizes and celebrates the successful passage of these students through LSU into the community. To date, more than 1,700 graduating seniors have participated in the 17 previous ceremonies.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs, a unit of the Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach, seeks to create an environment at LSU that embraces individual difference, sustains inclusion and cultivates a campus atmosphere that is free from bias.

The year’s Robing Ceremony is sponsored by the African-American Cultural Center; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; the Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach; the A. P. Tureaud, Jr. Black Alumni Chapter; and the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.

For more information on the Robing Ceremony, contact LaKeitha Poole, coordinator for African-American Student Affairs, at 225-578-1627.

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014