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LHU News

Lock Haven University holds Lavender Graduation ceremony

LHU graduate Chelsea GirtonShown from left, are Joanette Saba-Sturm, mother; Chelsea Girton, graduate; and Dr. Matthew Girton, father and professor and chair of the Communication Department at LHU.

Lock Haven University recently held Lavender Graduation on Wednesday, Dec. 1 in the Parsons Union Building (PUB). Approximately 45 students, faculty and management were in attendance at this semester's event.

Lavender Graduation is a nationwide event that celebrates the academic achievements of LGBTQ students and allies. LHU's ceremony was organized by the President's Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, and celebrated the graduation of one senior.

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Rick Schulze, acting chair of the commission, followed by remarks from Ron Darbeau, provost; Kenny Hall, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Kenzie Etters, Gender and Sexuality Alliance president.

"Lock Haven University celebrates all of our LGBTQ and ally graduates," Schulze said. "The LGBTQ Commission is pleased to see our students, like Chelsea, graduate and succeed. Our LHU family recognizes the importance of diversity, inclusion and acceptance. We see this as a strength for our campus as well as graduates."

The ceremony also included time for an open mic in which attendees could speak on behalf of the graduating senior and allies, as well as a keynote address which was delivered by PA Youth Congress Foundation President, Jason Landau Goodman.
Jason Landau GoodmanShown is Lavender Graduation speaker, Jason Landau Goodman.

In his speech, Goodman remarked on his own experiences as a gay student in the collegiate setting and as a gay man in the professional and political realm. Goodman also spoke to the barriers that the LGBTQ community has overcome. Goodman reminded students that they are the "wildest dreams of the LGBTQ students who came before (them)," and urged the graduating class to remember that they are "still in charge of making the world a better place when (they) leave campus."

Dr. Lisette Schillig, commission member, presented graduating senior Chelsea Girton, a interdisciplinary studies major, with a certificate, rainbow tassel cords and a graduation gift.

Congratulatory toasts were offered to the graduate by Dr. Matthew Girton, Chelsea's father, who also is a professor and chair of the Communication Department at LHU, and by the graduate's brother. Chelsea Girton also spoke and thanked her family for being a source of significant support throughout her personal life and her academic career.

Lavender Graduation is open to all LHU students regardless of their sexual orientation. For more information, contact Emily Powell Hodges at

For more information on Lock Haven University, visit, email, or call 570-484-2011. 

Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.

LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

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