LGBTQ+ Center prepares virtual environment for Lavender Graduation

Attendees posing at the 2019 LavGrad ceremony.

Attendees posing at the 2019 LavGrad ceremony.

During the week of April 26, the LGBTQ+ Center will host its annual Lavender Graduation. The ceremony highlights graduating LGBTQ+ students and allies at Kent State.

To accommodate for restrictions due to the pandemic, the LGBTQ+ Center will host the ceremony virtually for a second time.

Throughout the week, the LGBTQ+ Center will use its social media platforms to share content from the ceremony, including guest speakers honoring the graduates.

Some of the speakers who will be expected to attend the ceremony include President Todd Diacon, Provost Melody Tankersley and Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar Hylton.

“It’s really important that we find a way to celebrate our graduates for what they achieved while at Kent State,” said Ken Ditlevson, the director of the LGBTQ+ Center. “We don’t want to let these graduates slip through the cracks.”  

As always, Lavender Graduation will feature its award segment to honor outstanding individuals who made a difference for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Some of the categories will recognize first-year students who made strides in bringing visibility to the community, LGBTQ+ student leaders and faculty and staff members who worked to create a better environment on campus for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Their names will be placed on a cool placard which will be featured in the center,” Ditlevson said. “We’ll also feature those honored students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni on social media as well.”

The last day to nominate a recipient for an award will be on Sunday, April 11.

On the final day of the ceremony, the LGBTQ+ Center will release a slideshow video to commemorate all registered graduates on its YouTube channel.

“The graduates who do participate are going to be excited to see themselves featured,” Ditlevson said. “They’ll be able to share it with their family members or their found families and friends that want to celebrate them.”

The slideshow will also feature university members congratulating graduates including members of the LGBTQ+ Center Staff/Faculty/Student/Community Action Team (LSAC).

One of the graduates who will be highlighted during the ceremony is the LGBTQ+ Center’s Graduate Assistant Eunice Reyes.

“I think it makes it that much special,” said Reyes, who will be graduating with her master’s in higher education administration and student affairs. “I’m helping to put everything together for graduation. It feels nice to be able to work at the center and to also celebrate and graduate with everyone.” 

Graduates who wish to attend and be highlighted during the ceremony have until Sunday, April 18 to register. Graduates can register through the LGBTQ+ Center’s website

“I’m excited to look through the different graduates in the slideshow and be able to celebrate them. I hope to see them in their rainbow stoles in person one day,” said Reyes.

To participate in Lavender Graduation, follow the LGBTQ+ Center’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cameron Aloway covers diversity. Contact him at [email protected].