Lock Haven University holds 3rd annual Lavender Graduation

On April 30 Lock Haven University held its annual Lavender Graduation. Lavender Graduation is an event organized to recognize contributions made by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) identified students, allies, friends and families in Lock Haven. The celebration started with opening remarks from Dr. Rick Schulze, chair of the President’s Commission on LGBTQ Issues; Kenneth Hall, director of the Center for Excellence and Inclusion; and Dr. Michael Fiorentino Jr., Lock Haven University president.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Craig Young, an early childhood and adolescent education professor from Bloomsburg University. Young used “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss as the guidepost for his speech. He told the three graduates that “regardless of your sex, gender, identity, expression or orientation, you’ve got some decisions to make, and it’s important that you are thoughtful.” He encouraged the graduates, and everyone else in the room, that change is good. Life is going to change and we can either “adapt to suit your surroundings or you’ll adapt your surroundings to suit you.” Young gave real world advice throughout his entire speech but the underlying theme was clear: “live the life you want to live because it is yours and it is glorious.”

After the keynote address, Dr. Tara Mitchell, faculty advisor for Lock Haven’s Gay Straight Alliance and Young presented the graduates with their rainbow tassels and certificates. After receiving their certificates and tassels, the graduates were asked to make remarks on their time spent at Lock Haven University.

Brittany Duke, a social work major, commented on the friends she made while in school. Stephen Marks, a psychology major, spoke about his time, saying it helped push him to go to graduate school. Jai Thompson, an interdisciplinary studies major read a poem from American poet, Langston Hughes.

The event ended with Megan Penny, GSA president, giving the concluding remarks, stating that the graduates were an inspiration to LGBTQ underclassmen that were making their way through college. The ceremony had a large turnout, which proved that the inclusion of LGBTQ students at Lock Haven University is constantly growing.