Inaugural Lavender Recognition Ceremony May 18

Event honoring achievements of graduating LGBT students open to WUSTL community

The inaugural Lavender Recognition Ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, in College Hall in the South 40 House.

Co-hosted by LGBT Student Involvement and Leadership and the Social Justice Center, the ceremony honors the achievements and contributions of graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer students and their allies.

Lavender recognition ceremonies originated in 1995 at the University of Michigan and were created by Ronni Sanlo, EdD, then-director of Michigan’s Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Affairs.

The color lavender is important in LGBT 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 LGBT civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols and color of pride and community.

WUSTL’s Lavender Recognition Ceremony will include an introduction by keynote speaker Jami Ake, PhD, senior lecturer and assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, remarks by students Ayla Karamustafa and Jeanie Chung, and a short performance by the student a cappella group, the Stereotypes.

James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Georgia Binnington, associate dean of students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, will present lavender graduation honor cords to seniors who identify as LGBT or as an ally to the LGBT community.

A reception will follow the event.

To register for the ceremony, visit

For more information, contact Saida Bonifield, coordinator for LGBT Student Involvement and Leadership, at