The Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony conducted on campuses across the nation to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University. The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her children because of her sexual orientation. From this experience, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995, held at the University of Michigan, with three graduates. Over 200 colleges and universities around the country now celebrate the achievements of their LGBTQA+ students with Lavender Graduation ceremonies.
As a part of the ceremony, the Office of LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives and SAFE acknowledges five distinguished individuals in the following areas:
Lavender Scholar Award
The Lavender Scholar Award is given to a graduate who has achieved academic excellence during their time at Northern Kentucky University, and has maintained an active presence with the LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives community on campus. The student must be currently enrolled and have a minimum GPA of 3.6 (cumulative).
Lavender Graduate Award
The Lavender Graduate Award is given to a graduate who is actively engaged with LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives while continuing to challenge themselves to strive toward excellence in their chosen field of study/profession. This student demonstrates ongoing flexibility, initiative, creativity, and perseverance and is a mentor to others around them creating community within LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives. The student must be currently enrolled and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Outstanding SAFE Award
The Outstanding SAFE Award is given to a current faculty or staff person who has significantly contributed to the development an inclusive, equitable and just campus through support of their peers and/or students.
Ray Archer Founder's Award
The Ray Archer Founders Award is voted on by the members to grant to any member of the organization who has shown leadership inside Friends of Dorothy, and around Northern Kentucky University at-large. This award can be given to a current, or graduating, student.
Lavender Service Award
The Lavender Service Award is given to a graduating student who has been actively involved in increasing the visibility and education of LGBTQA+ issues and concerns within the University community. This student has demonstrated efforts toward improving the climate and well-being of LGBTQA+ people and provided outstanding service to the LGBTQA+ community at NKU through campus and/or community involvement as well as peer support.