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Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Lavender Celebration 2023


Each Spring, the LGBTQ Center hosts a Lavender Graduation to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to UNF and/or the Jacksonville community. This year, we are not only celebrating graduating students, but we are recognizing individuals for their work in advocating and fighting for not only LGBTQIA+ individuals but for underrepresented communities. Since this is a celebration, we are opening the event to everyone to attend! 

High School Seniors, local area Undergraduate and Graduate college/university students are eligible to participate in the ceremony if they identify as:

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or as an ally of the LGBTQ community
  • Student has or will be a part of the graduating class for the current year

Brief History about Lavender Graduation 

Lavender Graduation was started by UNF Alum Dr. Ronni Sanlo in 1995. From a single program with only three graduates, Lavender Graduation has since grown into an annual tradition celebrated by colleges and universities across the nation.

During previous Lavender Graduations at UNF, participating students would receive a lavender cord to be worn with their regalia at commencement, attend a small ceremony where someone important whether it was a faculty, staff member, or someone of importance to speak about them. To learn more about the LGBTQ Center and Lavender Graduation, watch our video.

In previous years, during Lavender Graduation, the LGBTQ Center honored LGBTQ allies and organizations for their support and contributions at the University and beyond. LGBT Ally Award categories included: Student Leadership, Faculty & Staff, Campus Department, Community Excellence, and Mentor of the Year. 

Student Leadership Recipients
2018-2019: FCPC 2019 Planning Committee
2017-2018: Elaine Hosking
2016-2017: Haiden Baier
2015-2016: Christopher Jordan
2014-2015: Kyle Gibbons

Faculty & Staff Recipients
2018-2019: Dr. Mandi N. Barringer
2017-2018: Dr. Carolyne Ali-Khan
2016-2017: Andrea Adams-Manning, Michelle Adams-Manning
2015-2016: Catherine Cole
2014-2015: Dr. Zully Rivera-Ramos

Campus Department Recipients
2018-2019: The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
2017-2018: The International Studies Program
2016-2017: UNF Registrar's Office
2015-2016: Project THRIVE
2014-2015: Housing and Residence Life

Community Excellence Recipients
2018-2019: CAN Community Health
2017-2018: Community Rehabilitation Center
2016-2017: Amber Paoloemilio
2015-2016: Rico Bodin

Mentor of the Year Recipients
2018-2019: Jason Zellers, Blue Cross Blue Shield
2017-2018: Andrew Austin, Mayo Clinic LGBTI Employee Resource Group