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Lavender commencement for LGBT grads to be held May 10


Lavender Commencement procession from 2011 Virginia Tech alumni Eugene Lawson and Scott Sterl lead the honored LGBT graduates during the 2011 Lavender Commencement procession.

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 26, 2012 – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus at Virginia Tech is sponsoring the 4th Annual Lavender Commencement Ceremony, which will be held on May 10 at 11 a.m. in the Old Dominion Ballroom at Squires Student Center. The ceremony will recognize lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual students and their allies from all majors, both graduate and undergraduates, who earned their degrees this spring.

“The Lavender Commencement Ceremony is a celebration of the academic achievements of LGBT students here at Virginia Tech," said Dayna Murphree, co-chair of the caucus and adjunct professor in the Departments of History and of Religion and Culture. "But I also like to think of it as a big goodbye hug from the faculty and staff for these students who are leaving our community here at Virginia Tech and moving on to other pursuits.” 

The caucus will also bestow two honors: a $500 scholarship to an undergraduate who has made contributions to the LGBT community through leadership, service, volunteering, or research; and the annual Ally of the Year award.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event will be the president and publisher of the Roanoke Times, Debra C. Meade, a Virginia Tech alumna. Meade is responsible for all the operations of western Virginia’s leading daily newspaper and, the area’s most-viewed website, along with a growing suite of digital and targeted products and services for audiences across media platforms.

Under her leadership, the Times has won numerous awards for public service and journalistic excellence and sustained its position as one of the nation’s best-read newspapers in its home market.  All the while, according to Meade, aggressively building audience and revenues online, enabling it to inform and entertain readers "where they want us, when they want us, on smart phones and tablets as well as on a computer screen or newsprint." 

A Norfolk native, Meade earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech. A visible leader in the community, Meade serves on the boards and executive committees of United Way of Roanoke Valley, the Taubman Museum of Art, and the Roanoke Higher Education Center. She is a member of the Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke steering committee and Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Council.

Dwight Bigler, an assistant professor in the Department of Music, will contribute a special performance from the keyboard at the celebration.

The Lavender Commencement Ceremony is for those students who identify with the LGBT community; who will graduate in May either with an undergraduate or with a graduate degree; and their families, faculty, staff, and allies. Graduates are asked to have a mentor speak on their behalf.

Participants are requested to register before May 3 at the LGBT Caucus website.

Participating students will be awarded a unique rainbow cord that can be worn with academic regalia. A reception will follow the ceremony.

With a visitor’s pass, parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Architecture Annex Lot also on Otey Street. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located at 965 Prices Fork Road, near the intersection of Prices Fork and University City Boulevard next to the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. A visitor’s pass may also be obtained from the Virginia Tech Police Station, located on Sterrett Drive, outside of the Visitor Information Center hours. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech includes programs in the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college seeks to illuminate human experience and expression by creating works of lasting scholarly, cultural, and aesthetic value; empower individuals to engage critically with the complexities of a diverse, global society; and foster the inquiry, innovation, and growth that produce individual and social transformation.