Lavender Graduation Recognition

2019 Award Winners
The next Lavender Graduation Ceremony will be in Spring, 2022. If you're graduating in Fall 2021 and did not participate in the virtual ceremony in April and would like recognition, contact Emily Phelps directly via

What is the Lavender Graduation Recognition Ceremony?

The Lavender Graduation Recognition Ceremony is an annual event sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center in the spring, which recognizes exceptional service, leadership, and activism on behalf of the LGBTQIA community. Awards will honor graduating Seniors and Faculty/Staff members for their outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion at SUNY Oneonta.

From The Human Rights Campaign: "The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995. The first Lavender Graduation began at the University of Michigan in 1995, with three graduates.

Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols and color of pride and community."

How to Participate

If you graduated in 2020 or are graduating in May, August, or December 2021 and are interested in being recognized by receiving a lavender cord and certificate, you can RSVP. You are also welcome to nominate other seniors and faculty/staff that you believe qualify for each award. SUNY Oneonta employees, alumni, students, and families are welcome to attend.

If you would like to be recognized but cannot/do not want to participate in the ceremony, contact Emily Phelps at


You may nominate anyone who is graduating in May, August, or December 2021. *Note: Nominations for 2020 awards have been documented. If you would still like to nominate someone for last year's awards, you can contact Emily Phelps directly at by March 31st with your nomination.

Self-nominations are allowed. Links to the nomination forms are within each description below.

There are four awards:

  • Extraordinary service and outstanding leadership to support and build the LGBTQIA+ campus community and to promote LGBTQIA+ issues and awareness at SUNY Oneonta;
  • Commitment and outstanding contribution to raising awareness and being an activist and voice for change;
  • Contribution to and involvement in SUNY Oneonta LGBTQIA+ life and enduring commitment to building community and educating the campus about LGBTQIA+ issues; OR
  • Tremendous effort to serve the LGBTQIA+ community through building coalitions across groups at SUNY Oneonta.
  • Been an active member of the SUNY Oneonta LGBTQIA+ community;
  • Helped with special projects;
  • Raised awareness and participated in activism; OR
  • Provided both a safe space and a voice for LGBTQIA+ issues at SUNY Oneonta.

Examples of building connections may include:
o Program/Event planning
o Speaking on LGBTQIA+ issues at events (conferences, programs, etc.)
o Educational engagement on campus (in the classroom, research, etc.)
o Social engagement on campus (student organization involvement, leadership roles, etc.)
o Community service

Connections of broader student life may include:
o Academic Departments
o Residential Community Life
o Athletics
o Greek Life
o Student Association
o Office of Equity and Inclusion
o Admissions
o New Student Services
o Off-Campus organizations

• Being an active member of the SUNY Oneonta LGBTQIA+ community;
• Providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ student issues at SUNY Oneonta;
• Outstanding contributions to raising awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues in educational initiatives (i.e. in the classroom, in programming efforts, etc.)

Back to top