As the Class of 2017 prepared to don black robes for commencement, a rainbow celebration honored the LGBTQIA+ community during the Lavender Graduation and Awards Ceremony on April 27.

Seven awards honored individuals and one group who have advocated for LGBTQ people, issues, and causes on campus. In addition, there were 28 Lavender graduates — seniors who identify as part of or provide support to the LGBTQ community.

“The beauty of Lavender Graduation is that so many people come together to celebrate ourselves and our accomplishments: faculty, staff, and students,” said Em Rubey ’18. “It’s a time to acknowledge the moments, the people, and the actions that are making this campus a better place for LGBTQ people.”

Rubey received this year’s Emerging Leader Award. An intern with Colgate’s LGBTQ Initiatives, Rubey spearheaded the effort to bring the Spectrum Conference to campus next year. With the theme Intersections in Queerness, this event will bring together students, staff, and faculty from the NY6 Consortium schools to learn from each other.

Lavender Graduation, which began eight years ago, has been steadily growing, according to assistant dean and director of LGBTQ Initiatives khristian Kemp-DeLisser.

Each Lavender graduate received a certificate, a ceremonial rainbow chord, a keychain from the Office of Alumni Programs, and a mason jar full of notes of encouragement from community members and peers.

“It is a celebration of the whole community,” Kemp-DeLisser said.


2017 award recipients:

Leadership Award
Daniel Berry
Michael James

Emerging Leader Award
Em Rubey
Taylor Huffer

Over the Rainbow Award
Lucien Ruebens
Kevin Iglesiaz

Social Justice Advocate
Hannah Shaheen O’Malley
Bennie Guzman

Outstanding Faculty Award
Danny Barreto
Cristina Serna

Outstanding Staff Award
Chimebere Nwaoduh
Niki Keating

Group Solidarity Award
Queer & Transgender People of Color Group