Lavender Commencement is a celebration that recognizes LGBTQIAP+ students of all races and ethnicities and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to WPI as students who survived the college experience. Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols and color of pride and community.
Graduating students, including undergraduates and graduates, are invited to take part in the celebration, which occurs each year the week prior to university-wide commencement events.
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995.
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education collaborates with student organizations and campus partners to celebrate the contributions of our multicultural communities. Our programs strive to recognize and appreciate the identities of our students, faculty, and staff members through education, dialogues, and community building opportunities.
History/Heritage Month Announcements | AY 2022-2023