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The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by 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, Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995.

This special ceremony serves to celebrate LGBTQ students and student allies of all races and ethnicities for their achievements and contributions to the University during their tenure. This is a cultural celebration that recognizes the difficulties of achieving in a climate that is often less than desirable for LGBTQ students and allies.

Sanlo chose Lavender for its unique importance 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 (

UW Oshkosh’s very own Lavender Graduation Ceremony began in 2004, with Mike Altekruse as the first keynote speaker. Since its inception, the LGBTQ community of the University Wisconsin Oshkosh has honored 19 LGBTQ and ally graduates.

We are honored to continue this legacy with seven graduates for our May 5, 2010, ceremony.

2010 Graduates

Jennifer Blaha
JeJedi Garratron Denning
Jennifer Kiss
Troy Landry
Baily Murph
Travis Swanson
Thomas Wolf

This announcement was submitted by Nicholas Janis on behalf of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today. Click here to submit.