May 19, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
On April 13, more than 150 members of the Georgia Tech community gathered to honor its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and ally (LGBTQIA) graduates at the annual Lavender Graduation celebration. Twenty graduating students were recognized at the Fifth Annual Lavender Graduation, which was hosted by the LGBTQIA Resource Center.
“Lavender Graduation rewards graduates for their accomplishments at Tech and serves as a formal farewell to the community,” said Aby Parsons, director of the Center. “The celebration also gives students the opportunity to connect with our alumni and learn how they can stay involved with LGBTQIA life at Tech after graduation.”
During the celebration, Student Life Vice President and Dean of Students John Stein welcomed attendees, and Institute Diversity Vice President Archie Ervin invited each graduate to the stage to receive a lavender diploma from the LGBTQIA Resource Center and a letter from Stein.
“Lavender Graduation means to me that there is progress at Georgia Tech,” said Jefferson Dixon, a mechanical engineering student and Greek Allies facilitator with the Center. “In the last few years, Tech has made astounding progress in creating an inclusive, welcoming community.”
Following the event, the Center presented the Third Annual Lavender Awards to recognize individuals who have made the Institute a safer and more inclusive environment for LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Award recipients included:
- LGBTQIA Alum of the Year Award – Katie Olliff, grant consultant, Palmetto Grant Consulting
- Award for LGBTQIA Employee Leadership – Jennifer Hasler, professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Award for LGBTQIA Student Leadership – Andrea Welsh, doctoral student, School of Physics
- The Billiee Pendleton-Parker Award for Outstanding Allyship – Rev. Steve Fazenbaker, director, Wesley Foundation at Georgia Tech
“It is such an honor to receive this award, as I know Billiee personally,” remarked Fazenbaker. “We strive to be a good partner to the LGBTQIA community. It is our belief that you can explore your sexuality in light of your spirituality, and explore your spirituality in light of your sexuality.”
The Fifth Annual Lavender Graduation and Third Annual Lavender Awards were supported by Institute Diversity, Parent and Family Programs, Georgia Tech Alumni Association, ADVANCE Program, and the Campus Recreation Center.
To learn more about Lavender Graduation and Lavender Awards, visit www.lgbtqia.gatech.edu.