Babson Lavender Graduation is an annual ceremony which honors graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning and ally students and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the college.
Dr. Thomas Bourdon ’98
Lavender Graduation Keynote Speaker
We were honored to welcome Dr. Thomas Bourdon ’98, president of Greater Boston PFLAG, as Babson’s first Lavender Graduation keynote speaker.
In a moving speech, Tom shared his own personal story and gave the graduates advice for the future, including:
- Live your life with honesty and integrity.
- Be your true, authentic-self, and be proud of who you are.
- Recognize your privilege, and use it for good.
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Do not burn bridges.
- Give your life meaning and purpose.
He closed with this final instruction: “You are amazing people with beautiful spirits, so go make us proud.” You can read the full text of Tom’s speech here. (pdf)
At Babson, we choose this day to also honor staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the college who have made significant contributions to Babson and/or the greater LGBTQ community through the Pride Awards. Our 2014 honorees are:
Undergraduate: Christian Lewis ’13, Natalie Cullings ’14
Graduate: Christine Yoon M’15
Staff: Jamie Kendrioski, Director of International Student & Scholar Services
Faculty: Toni Lester, Ph.D., Professor of Law, Culture and Society
Alumni & Friends: Richard Babson
Pride Award winner Natalie Cullings also served as the student speaker for the 2014 commencement ceremony, sharing her beliefs about entrepreneurship and diversity at Babson.
About Lavender Graduation
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. Encouraged by the Dean of Students, Dr. Sanlo held the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony ever at the University of Michigan in 1995, with three graduates in attendance. Today there are over 90 Lavender Graduations being held at colleges and universities nationwide, according to the HRC.
The color lavender is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle which, according to some, was used to designate lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBT civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them as a color and symbol of pride and community.