2022 Lavender and Horizon Graduations

About 50 graduating students in various stoles, smiling at the camera.

Every year the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) hosts two specialized graduation events: Lavender graduation and Horizon graduation. These events are catered to specific communities to honor their experiences at Miami and celebrate their accomplishments.

Lavender Graduation

Lavender graduation is an annual ceremony on campuses across the country to honor the accomplishments and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and ally students. 

Staff in front of a huge lavender balloon wall.70 people attended the 2022 Lavender graduation.This year’s Lavender graduation ceremony was held on April 30, 2022. Speakers during the event included LGBTQ+ Initiatives Associate Director Dr. April Callis, Miami alum Kaeden Kass, Graduate Student Pride Association President Sean Monroe, and LGBTQ+ Initiatives Assistant Director Tina Coyne.

After the ceremony, students and staff enjoyed a reception with food, music, a photo booth, and a lavender balloon wall.

“The students really enjoyed this year’s ceremony,” said Coyne. “It was a very memorable and meaningful experience for our graduates.”

During the ceremony, students were recognized with a new award called the LGBTQ+ Inclusion Award. The nominees were students, faculty, and staff who have promoted inclusivity on and inspired advocacy on campus. This year’s winners included undergraduate student Madi McGirr, graduate student Colleen Floyd, faculty member Deborah Wiese, and staff member Noah Montague.

Horizon Graduation

The Horizon graduation ceremony recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of graduating undergraduate and graduate diverse students. The name Horizon was chosen to signify the new beginnings, opportunities, challenges, outlooks, and options facing our students at the dawn of their professional lives.

Horizon looks a little different than the traditional commencement. The graduates are instructed to wear what best suits them during the ceremony.

Group of 5 students in Horizon or AKA stoles posing after Horizon graduation.150 students attended the 2022 Horizon graduation.Each participating graduate was provided with a stole of their choice, representing their unique backgrounds and cultures. There were traditional kente stoles representing African heritage, serapes representing Latinx heritage, rainbow stoles celebrating LGBTQ+ students, and stoles displaying home country flags. Students were able to choose the home country displayed on their stole to honor their cultural roots and signify honor for their home.

This year, Horizon took place on May 12 in the Wilks Theater. CSDI Director Dasha Wood and Associate Director of Intercultural Initiatives D. Ellis Rates coordinated the event to celebrate marginalized identities and affirm the unique qualities that set these students apart.

The event featured remarks from Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Cristina Alcalde, Ph.D., a senior address by Vada Stephens II ‘22, musical selection by Jeysla Rosario Santos ‘23, a live DJ (TheLizaEffect), and a keynote address from Tammy Kernodle, Ph.D., a university distinguished professor of music.

Following the ceremony, graduates, and guests/family were invited to the Armstrong Atrium for refreshments, pictures, and music.

Horizon graduates received a stole, a certificate from the CSDI, and gift bags from the Center for Career Exploration and Success.