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Lavender Graduation

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.

  • Students are all smiles at their lavender graduation ceremony.

    Pioneers Jacob Hopkins, Karla Kaplan and Trace Hernandez, all '18, celebrate following the university's first-ever Lavender Graduation ceremony.

  • Student speaker at Lavender Graduation ceremony

    Senior speaker John Hollander '18

  • Students gather in their rainbow scarves during the lavender ceremony.

    “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.

  • Two students bring it in for a hug to celebrate their lavender graduation.

    William & Mary is ranked as one of the most friendly LGBTQ universities in the United States.

  • BOV member Doug Bunch addresses the audience at the lavender ceremony.

    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.