LHU holds Lavendar Graduation ceremony to recognize LGBTQ students | Education

Lock Haven, Pa.  — Prior to this year’s spring commencement, Lock Haven University also held a virtual Lavender Graduation ceremony honoring seven seniors.

Approximately 25 students, faculty and management attended the event on Zoom, which was organized by the President’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.

Lavender Graduation is a nationwide event that celebrates the academic achievements of LGBTQ students and allies.

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Bre Reynolds, former chair of the commission, followed by remarks from Kenny Hall, director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Recognition was then given to Dr. Julie Story for her service to the commission as she retires from LHU.

The Rev. Kyle Murphy, rector, Christ Episcopal Church, delivered the keynote speech, remarking on his own experiences as a 2006 LHU graduate in secondary education, French.

Murphy noted the support system he had, especially in the campus theater program, that helped him feel comfortable with himself. He also emphasized that LHU enabled him to study and travel in France and Europe. He said the environment at LHU was welcoming and the academic opportunities were superb.

Murphy also expressed praise at the university’s commitment to dedicated events like Lavender Graduation, providing LGBTQ students with a sense of belonging and visibility and hopes services continue to expand.

Among the graduating seniors who were celebrated during the event, were Marcos Duarte, criminal justice major, of Sunbury; Hannah Baldwin, psychology major, of Millersburg; Hailey Carroll, social work major, of Harrisburg; Piper Harsch, social work major, of Linden; and Robert Kolterman, interdisciplinary studies major, of Burke, Virginia.

Dr. Lisette Schillig, commission member, presented the seniors with certificates, rainbow tassels and cords and graduation gifts. Dr. Ron Darbeau, provost and vice president of academic affairs also congratulated the students.

Concluding remarks were provided by Piper Harsch, the outgoing president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance.

Lavender Graduation is open to all LHU students regardless of their sexual orientation. For more information, contact Dr. Gayatri Devi at gdevi@lockhaven.edu.

For more information about the President’s Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.

LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth.

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