Babson College’s LGBTQ+ and ally community gathered virtually on Wednesday to celebrate the eighth annual Lavender Graduation.
Held annually, Lavender Graduation is a tradition honoring LGBTQ+ and ally students and recognizing their achievements and contributions to the College. More than 150 members of the community gathered for this year’s event, the first virtual edition of the celebration.
A signature of the Lavender Graduation celebration is the honoring of Babson Pride Award winners. The award recognizes the significant contributions of those who join the College in its commitment to creating a community that values, supports, and celebrates LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies.
This year’s Babson Pride award winners:
- Michael Sysak ’20 (he/him) – Undergraduate Student Pride Award
- Aditya Pathak MBA ’20 (he/him) – Graduate Student Pride Award
- Dave Childers ’83 (he/him) – Alumni Pride Award
- Carol Hacker (she/her) – Staff Pride Award
- Anjali Bal (she/her) – Faculty Pride Award
As the keynote speaker, Childers gave a history of how he co-founded Babson’s Gay and Lesbian Alliance—which has now evolved into the Pride: LGBTQ+ & Ally Club—in the ’80s. “Yes we have had major victories, but there are still battles to be fought. I leave that to all of you, seniors,” he said.
All award winners were celebrated for their commitment to mentoring, supporting, and championing Babson’s LGBTQ+ community.
“Babson is committed, and I am committed, to expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College. Your leadership has helped us do that,” said President Steven Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD (he/his). “I am grateful for your contributions to our campus and community and inspired by the way you support one another. You will always have a home at Babson.”
Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the College. Today, more than 220 campuses in the United States host the celebration.
“I am so proud that Babson is one of these campuses,” said Michael Lara (he/his), assistant director of LGBTQ and identity programs. “Celebrations like Lavender Graduation offer us an opportunity to celebrate our students and contribute to a stronger sense of community and belonging.”
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo (she/her), who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation.
Sanlo attended this year’s virtual Babson ceremony and left a message of support and celebration in the event’s chat: “Congratulations to the amazing Lavender Graduates at Babson! As an activist and an educator, I thank you for the gifts you’ve given to Babson. I founded Lavender Graduation at the University of Michigan 25 years ago, so the LGBTQ students are celebrated for your scholarship, your campus engagement, and your tenacity. I’m incredibly proud of you, and want you to be proud of yourselves, as queer people, as allies, as Babson graduates.”
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