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LHU News

Lock Haven University holds spring Lavender Graduation ceremony

Lavender1Shown are graduates, organizers and speakers at Lavender Graduation. From left, are Lisette Schillig, Shelby Craig, John Gradel, Rick Schulze, Emily Powell Hodges, Wesley Fugate and Breanna K-A Hanley.

Lock Haven University recently held Lavender Graduation on Wednesday, May 4 in the Parsons Union Building (PUB). Approximately 30 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 two seniors.

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Rick Schulze, acting chair of the commission; followed by remarks from Ron Darbeau, LHU provost; and Albert Jones, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. The ceremony also included an award recognition of Kenzi Etters, the former Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) president, as well as a keynote address delivered by Dr. Wesley Fugate, president of Wilson College.

In his speech, Fugate shared his personal experience about coming out and spoke to the trials and tribulations that he has gone through to be openly gay in both personal and professional settings.

As Fugate concluded his speech, he reminded students, "You know how to face adversity; you have been doing it your whole lives and I know you can do so in the future. Graduates today, you make a place in history. Your story so far has had many chapters but the ending has not yet been written."

"When your journey on this planet is done, how will you be remembered," he asked. "I suspect it won't be for the job you held or how much money you made, but for the difference you made in the lives of others."

Dr. Lisette Schillig, commission member, presented graduating seniors Breanna K-A Hanley, an English major from Beech Creek; and Shelby Craig, a secondary education-math and special education major from Johnstown, with a certificate, a rainbow tassel, cords and a graduation gift.

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

Lavender2Shown from left, are Dr. Ron Darbeau, LHU provost; graduating seniors, Shelby Craig and Breanna K-A Hanley; and Albert Jones, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Lavender3Rick Schulze, President's Commission on LGBTQ Affairs acting chair, presents Lavender Graduation speaker, Wesley Fugate, with a gift.

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