The Lavender Ceremony is a unique event in which graduates are “donned” and awarded a commemorative pin by the family member, friend or supporter of their choosing. Lavender represents the blend of the pink and black triangles that gays and lesbians, respectively, were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps. Historically, it references stigma. The Lavender Ceremony turns that stigma on its head and instead the graduates wear that color as a badge of honor.
Pioneers Jacob Hopkins, Karla Kaplan and Trace Hernandez, all '18, celebrate following the university's first-ever Lavender Graduation ceremony.
Senior speaker John Hollander '18
“The fact that we had to move this event to a larger venue tells me that our students are part of a large community, a supportive community, and they want to be with that community on a day as important as this,” said Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06, vice-president for student affairs.
At the ceremony, graduates are “donned” and awarded a commemorative pin by the family member, friend or supporter of their choosing.
William & Mary is ranked as one of the most friendly LGBTQ universities in the United States.
In the presence of several other Board members, Doug Bunch ’02, J.D. ’06, who is gay, gave an extensive recounting of the university’s often-unpleasant history of dealing with its LGBTQ community.