Lavender Graduation

Monday, April 25, 2016 Lavender Graduation

Participants from the 2016 Lavender Graduation

Held April 21, the Lavender Graduation and Chancellor’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community honored achievements by members of the LGBTQA+ community at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The ceremony honored six undergraduates, four master’s degree graduate students and two doctoral graduate students. All are graduating members of the LGBTQA+ community who received certificates and commemorative rainbow tassels. A complete participant list is provided below.

Graduating students recognized Dr. Helen Moore (Sociology), Dr. Corey Rumann (Educational Administration) and Dr. Scott Winrow (University Health Center) as advocates for the LBGTQA+ community. A keynote was provided by Precious Davis, the first volunteer at the LGBTQA+ Resource Center when it opened in 2007.

The Louis Crompton Scholarship was awarded to Shea O’Brien, a junior psychology major and LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies minor who hopes to open her own counselling practice. O’Brien was commended for her active volunteerism at the Common Root Mutual Aid Center, facilitating peer-to-peer support groups and in coordinating the Fall for Pride event.

"Her personality is warm, inviting and displays an understanding of cooperation, but also a firm independence and leadership. These qualities make her a wonderful person with whom to work and I am honored to be able to share this facet of her life" said fellow Azraq Middle Eastern rhythms band member Shaina Allison.

In her application for the award, O’Brien recognized the LGBTQA community for providing her with a purpose. “I am passionate about supporting those who have been marginalized and misunderstood due to their identities. This drive is very much a part of my being and I could not imagine a different life purpose."

Now in its eighth year at UNL, Lavender Graduation began in 1995 at the University of Michigan as a program to recognize the challenges of being openly LGBTQA+ or openly connected to the LGBTQA+ community.

“Being part of, or connected to, the LGBTQA+ community can result in marginalization, stigma, bias, and there are many disproportionate impacts on LGBTQA+ people that result from uninformed and negative attitudes or beliefs about being LGBTQA+. The contributions and achievements of the LGBTQA+ community are often invisible because the orientation or gender identity/expression a person may have is not always known or acknowledged. Visibility is both rewarding and challenging, as we are sometimes seen as ‘the’ representative for an entire community that is comprised of a variety of identities and orientations,” said Pat Tetreault, director of the LGBTQA+ Resource Center.

Lavender Graduation flier with rainbow tassel

Since 2011 UNL has celebrated Lavender Graduation in conjunction with the Chancellor’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community. Honors presented by Chancellor Harvey Perlman were as follows.

Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community – Student Award

  • Austin Christensen — a senior who has served as the Treasurer for Spectrum UNL, and volunteered for the LGBTQA+ Resource Center and Nebraska AIDS Project

Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community – Faculty/Staff Award

  • Melissa Peters — Assistant Director of Residence Life for Student Leadership and Diversity Initiatives in University Housing

Certificates of Appreciation

  • Derrick Gulley — a sophomore who has served as LGBTQA+ Volunteer Coordinator and Peer Mentor Program Coordinator, Campus Night Life Volunteer
  • Jennifer Skidmore — a Career Services Coordinator at the Omaha College of Engineering Peter Kiewit Institute
  • Stacey Waite, Ph.D. — Assistant Professor in the Department of English

Lavender Graduation Participants

Undergraduate Degrees
Alejandro Benavente Major in Graphic Design, minor in LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies
Henry Cabrera Calderon Major in Political Science, minors in Sexuality Studies, Global Studies, Psychology, Human Rights, Women’s and Gender Studies
Eliott Hines Majors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Film Studies, minors in LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies and English
Adrienne Ricker Major in Biological Sciences and Geology, minor in Mathematics
Dylan Roberson Major in English, minor in Women’s and Gender Studies
Marc Woodman Majors in English and History, minor in Political Science

Graduate Degrees
Felipe Longoria M.A., Educational Administration, specialization in Student Affairs
Samantha Martens M.A., Educational Administration, specialization in Student Affairs
Enrique Tejada III M.A., Educational Administration, specialization in Student Affairs
Jessica Weed M.A., Educational Administration, specialization in Student Affairs

Doctoral Degrees
Lesa Johnson Ph.D., Sociology
Amanda Romjue Ph.D., Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education
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