On Dec. 9 the Pride Center held Lavender Graduation to celebrate LGBTQ+ graduates and their accomplishments. The Shippensburg University graduates were joined by friends and faculty as well as their given or chosen families in the Ceddia Union Building.
Many speakers came to speak at the event including Alithia Zamantakis, the director of the Pride Center, and Charles Patterson, SU’s interim president. Zamantakis presented attendees with shocking statistics regarding LGBTQ+ student struggles in academia to highlight the success of the graduates that night.
“We are here to celebrate each of our graduates,” Zamantakis said. “All of your triumphs and your challenges, your breakthroughs, your successes and even your failures. You have made it you’ll continue to make it wherever life takes you. I’m honored to have gotten to know the grads here today.”
Remarks were given by both Emily Javitt, a Pride Center staff member, and Steph Jirard, SU Chief Diversity Officer. Both gave uplifting messages of hope and congratulations to the graduates. The two were followed by Moriah Hathway, an SU alumni, and President Patterson.
Patterson gave the President’s Address to the graduates and attendees, wishing them a successful future. Students were presented with certificates and lavender cords by Jayleen Galarza, an SU social work professor, and Cris Rhodes, an SU English professor.
Each speaker at the ceremony wished well to Zamantakis along with the graduates as she leaves SU on Dec. 15. “You leave a stronger culture at Shippensburg for our LGBTQ community than perhaps we would have had, had you not been here,” Patterson said.
The Lavender Graduation ceremony was followed by a reception where the graduates and their guests mingled and enjoyed refreshments.
To find more events hosted by the Pride Center this Spring, visit www.ship.edu/life/resources/pride/.