2020 Lavender Graduation

COVID-19 Update: While we will not be able to come together in person this year, we will come up with an alternate way of celebrating UWM’s incredible LGBTQ+ graduates. Please keep registering and nominating below so that we may contact you with what our alternate plans are as we finalize them.

Join us on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 on a to be determined online platform for a celebration of achievement, identity & community!

We welcome May and December graduates to walk at our annual Lavender Graduation 2020 ceremony!

Origin of Lavender Graduation

In 1995, the first Lavender Graduation ceremony was coordinated at the University of Michigan by the LGBT Campus Resource Center Director Ronni Sanlo.  Dr. Sanlo realized that LGBT students needed to be recognized for “not only their achievements but for surviving their college years” (Sanlo, 2000).  The graduation began as an effort for students to feel connected to their institution and celebrate their identity, which are similar reasons for ethnic groups hosting their own graduation ceremonies.

Dr. Sanlo served as the Director of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) LGBT Resource Center.  When Dr. Sanlo became the director at UCLA, she immediately coordinated their first Lavender Graduation in spring 1998.  Fifty-nine of The Advocate Top 100 LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities sponsor a Lavender ceremony (Windmeyer, 2006).

UWM's Lavender Graduation

The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center coordinated the campus’ first Lavender Graduation in 2010.  At this ceremony, 16 graduates were honored and the ceremony has been an annual event at UWM since this 2010 milestone.

For some students, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee was the first place they explored and grew in their LGBT+ identities. For some students, UWM was the place their personal passions met their academic pursuits. No matter what the case – Lavender Graduation is designed to celebrate achievement and identity.

We welcome all UWM graduates to participate. Lavender Graduation, at its foundation, celebrates the achievements of the graduate through the lens of their identity across the spectrum of gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation.

The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Lavender Graduation ceremony has been made possible through a generous donation from Joseph R. Pabst.

2020 Graduate Registration Form

2020 Lavender Graduate Registration Form

Register to walk at this year's Lavender Graduation
  • (First & Last) this does not have to be your legal name
  • (First & Last) We need this to verify your graduation status. This information will remain confidential and will not be included in the program if an alternative name is provided.
  • Please fill this in phonetically. (e.g. Pounce Panther would be read as "Poun-s Pan-thur") This will help us avoid any mistakes when calling your name.
  • ePantherID@uwm.edu
  • This year we will be sending your rainbow tassels to the address provided. Please provide the street address, city, state and zip code. This information will remain absolutely confidential.
  • December 2019, May 2020, etc.
  • e.g. BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD, etc.
  • These will potentially be shared in our Lavender Graduation program as well as on our twitter page, anonymously.
  • These will potentially be shared in our Lavender Graduation program as well as on our twitter page.
  • Submit 1-3 songs you would love to hear at Lavender Graduation. We want everyone to have fun and be comfortable, and that includes hearing music you actually like! If you think of a song or two after submitting this form, feel free to email it to peerout@uwm.edu.
    Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 from 7:00pm-9:00pm
2020 Guest RSVP

Guest Registration Form

Let us know if you plan on attending as a guest!
  • (First & Last) this does not have to be your legal name
2020 Lavender Graduation Award Nomination Form

2020 Lavender Graduation Award Nomination Form

Step 1 of 2

    The 2020 ceremony will be hold on May 6th from 7:00pm-9:00pm.
  • Nominee Information

  • This does not have to be the nominee's legal name, any name in use is gladly accepted.
  • Please fill this in phonetically. This will help us avoid any mistakes. EX: Pounce Panther would be read as "Poun-s Pan-thur"
    The 2019 ceremony will be held on May 8th from 7:00pm-9:00pm.

Award Criteria: Proof of organization participation, accomplishments, must be able to be provided by upon request. All persons nominated must be UWM students, faculty, or staff. A campus community member is ineligible to receive an award in 2 consecutive years.

Lavender Graduation Archives
  • 2010 Keynote: Jeff Merrick, Professor Emeritus, Author
  • 2011 Keynote: Michael Laliberte, Vice Chancellor, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • 2012 Keynote:
  • 2013 Keynote: Gilberto M. Blasini, Associate Professor of English, Director of the UWM Film Studies Program
  • 2014 Keynote: Gary C. Cooper, Academic Advisor, African American Student Academic Support, Class of 2010, Class of 2012
  • 2015 Keynote: Tony Horne, Assistant Professor, Peck School of the Arts
  • 2016 Keynote: Nhia Lee, Undergrad; Noel Mariano, Ph.D. candidate
  • 2017 Keynote: Jim “Jazz” Nance, BS, Social Work
  • 2018 Keynote: Nekea Leon, BA Dance; Dr. Bridget Kies, PhD, Media, Cinema and Digital Studies
  • 2019 Keynote: Eve Thao, BA Psychology; Dr. Charmaine Lang PhD, African and Africa Diaspora Studies
LGBT Alumni Chapter

The UWM LGBT Alumni Chapter has been co-sponsoring Lavender Graduation since 2010. The LGBT Alumni Chapter is UWM’s official alumni organization for LGBT+ and allied Panthers and has been a part of the UWM community since 2010. Get involved with the Alumni Chapter here.

Sanlo, R. (2000). Lavender Graduation: acknowledging the lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students. Journal of College Student Development41(6), pp. 643-646.
Windmeyer, S. L.  (2006).  The Advocate College Guide For LGBT Students.  New York, NY: Alyson Books.