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Lavender Graduation Virtual Celebration


Welcome to the 2020 Lavender Graduation Virtual Celebration!

Lavender Graduation is held at universities and college across the U.S., and it was created in 1995 to address the erasure of LGBTQ+ students and families from graduation ceremonies at that time. We have been celebrating Lavender Graduation at the U since 2004.

While we could not celebrate in person this year because of physical distancing guidelines, this virtual celebration was created in the spirit of Lavender Graduation: an act of resiliency to make space for LGBTQIA+ people where there was not space before. It is so important to us that we recognize the many ways LGBTQIA+ students make our campus a better, more vibrant place to be. It is so important to us that we honor the accomplishments of LGBTQIA+ students obtaining their degrees and making progress in their goals. It is so important that we name hard-won victories and graduates’ persistence through the hard times and institutional barriers. It is so important for us to remember those who helped graduates get to this moment: friends, partners, family, mentors, professors, student leadership organizations, support staff, faith leaders, supervisors and co-workers, classmates and cohort mates, and all the other people who have supported graduates on their paths. It is so important for us to take this moment to be with you, graduates, to say how proud we are of you. You did that. Thank you for inviting all of us reading this to be part of this moment to celebrate you.

It is also important for us to hold this virtual celebration for those students we hear from every year who cannot openly participate in a ceremony for LGBTQIA+ graduates. This celebration is for you, too. Know that we are thinking of you as you reach this milestone, and our pride extends to you as part of our community, even if you can’t be visible with us.

For all Lavender Graduates, both named and unnamed, we celebrate you as part of our LGBTQIA+ community at the U, and we’ll keep cheering you on as you move into this next chapter of your life.

We invite you to get caught up in the spirit of this Lavender Graduation celebration! Enjoy the graduate profiles and the messages from university leaders. Follow us on social media to see real-time recognitions and shout outs to graduates. Create your own celebratory social media posts to honor your graduation: #UofULavGrads and #EDIgrads2020

We present the 2020 Lavender Graduates!

In Pride,
LGBT Resource Center Staff


Messages from University Leadership

Todd AndrewsI am honored to be able to take part in this celebration your accomplishments.

I know you have studied long hours and made a tremendous commitment over multiple years to be here now.

This may not be the way you saw yourself graduating from the U, but your ability to overcome recent challenges is a tribute to your resilience and strength.

You may be graduating from the U and leaving campus, but you will always be part of the U and we encourage you to stay in touch with us at the Alumni Association.

There are many opportunities to celebrate, cheer, mentor, advocate, and serve in our clubs and communities across the globe. While we are apart in the coming weeks, our Alumni are continuing to work together to make the U and our communities better- and hope you can join in with us.   

I want to personally congratulate you and, on behalf of the U Alumni Association Board of Governors, give you a heartfelt welcome to the U Alumni Family.

Forever Utah!

Todd Andrews
Executive Director
University of Utah Alumni Association

Bryan HubainCongratulations on your incredible achievement! Lavender Graduation has always been a market of resistance withing our communities. This viral pandemic has deeply affected our traditions, each and ever one of you have reclaimed this event, and are continuing to tranform the fabric of this university and higher education.

You are all therfore solidifying and making history as the graduating year that will never take no for an answer and continue to show up!

Take this with you as you embark on your new professional journeys because it has already started. Find strength, first and foremost, within yourself, your communities, and your chosen and/or given families. Continue to hope, dream and believe in a positive future.

Even in the face of adversity, you are lighting the way for other students to come. Continue to speak your truth and be your authentic selves.

What you can achieve is limitless.

Dr. Bryan Hubain
Associate Vice President
Student Development and Inclusion


Hi, I'm Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. I am here to wish you a very happy lavender graduation! This is a very strange ending to the year. (It's a little disappointing to me, because this is a time to celebrate and come together in the spring.) So we're doing it a little differently, but the heartfelt congratulations and pride in your achievements is real.

Thank you to all of the friends, family, mentors, advisors who helped you along the way. We really, really are proud of you! Congratulations on this milestone!

Good luck on your next adventures! Thank you.

The Ramirez FamilyCongratulations Class of 2020!!!! I hope you are all able to feel the flood of love and pride that many of us have for your accomplishments this year! How does one put into words all the happenings of this past year, especially how it is coming to a close. Covid has robbed us ;of so much-time together, events, resources-but your hard work and efforts cannot be taken from you. You have put the time in, done the work, and accomplished the pinnacle of your undergraduate experience. Thank you for being authentically “you” throughout this time and bringing your gifts and energy to our campus. You truly belong and are loved. It would be an understatement to say that I am excited to continue watching you from afar as you go to change the world! I know it will be scary as you face the uncertainty of your futures moving forward. But believe in yourself as you have during your time here, and you will have nothing but success moving forward. I share with you one of my favorite poems about hope:

Hope abides; therefore I abide.
Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
I am still alive, vibrant with life.
The black cloud will disappear,
The morning sun will appear once again
In all its supernal glory.
~Sri Chinmoy

Hold on to hope, Class of 2020. Make bold and confident decisions moving forward. In my 20 years as a Higher Education administrator, I am always inspired by you. YOU give me and countless others hope. Spread love into the world, and thank you for making an everlasting mark on the hearts of many at the University of Utah. I chose to share this picture of my family because I truly believe you all to be family. Keep in touch with us, and, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you happiness and success!

The Ramirez Family



Congratulations, Class of 2020!

What an exciting time for you. You have accomplished so much at the University of Utah, and we are so proud of you. I look forward to hearing about all of your accomplishments and wish you a great journey!


Congratulations, graduates!

I'm so proud of all you've achieved. I wish we could be celebrating this together in person. What you have accomplished is truly remarkable, and I know you are going to make a huge difference in the world as you go forward! Please know, the University of Utah is so proud of what you've achieved.

You're strong. You're resilient. You're remarkable.

Congratulations, and all best wishes for a very exciting future!



Class of 2020

Brynn Adams; BA, Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies & Disability Studies MinorsAshley Allen; Doctorate of MedicineKira Bhatti; BA, Gender StudiesTed Camper; BS, Information SystemsAustin Hendrickson; BS, ManagementSalem Hoffman; BA, English & SpanishAddison Hunter; BS, EconomicsMars Jacobsen; BS, Gender Studies, Computer Science MinorSkye Koenig; BA, Film and Media ArtsAustin MacDowell; Honors BA, Religious Studies; BA, LinguisticsBreanna Mears; BS, ChemistryHaley Oliphant; BA, EnglishEmilio Manuel Camu; M.Ed., Educational Leadership & PolicyMatthew J. Plooster; Ed.D., Educational Leadership & PolicyYajanetsy Ruano; M.Ed., Educational Leadership & Policy - Student Affairs EmphasisSara Scholes; Masters of Social WorkHavi Sheldon; Bachelor of Social WorkTaylor Stringam; BS, Political Science & Gender StudiesAnna Thomas; BA, Film and Media ArtsMandee Tran; BS, Ethnic Studies and Family, Community & Human Development, Psychology MinorJeffrey Wang; BA, International Studies; BS, Marketing; Honors BS, Management






We’ve also created custom GIF stickers to use on your social stories to celebrate your graduation virtually! On any platform that uses GIPHY, search the keyword “UofULavGrads“ and post to your feed. Any Instagram/Twitter post with the hashtags #UofULavGrads and #EDIgrads2020 will be shared by us!

How to find gifs & posting instructions






Last Updated: 5/24/21