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
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
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 more information on the Robing Ceremony, contact LaKeitha Poole, coordinator for African-American Student Affairs, at 225-578-1627.
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014