While college graduation is a time for graduates and their families to celebrate academic achievement, one event took time to celebrate graduates’ achievements outside the world of academia, as well.
Sunday, Ohio University’s LGBT Center presented Pride Graduation, an annual ceremony commemorating the achievements of graduating seniors in the LGBTA community. The evening also celebrated the year’s programs and events and discussed the future of the center.
The night began with a slideshow of the year’s events and of various community and faculty members. Susanne Dietzel, the director of the Women’s Center and interim director of the LGBT Center, gave the opening speech in which she expressed her congratulations to the graduates.
“Whether you have been a regular presence or have never stepped foot in the center, Ohio University and the LGBT Center have been so much better for having you as students,” she said.
Dietzel also discussed her time at the LGBT Center and announced that Delfin Bautista, a Yale University graduate and divinity studies scholar, would take the position of LGBT Center Director for the 2013-2014 year.
“Working with everyone this year has truly been a labor of love,” Dietzel said.
David Descutner, interim vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, also expressed his congratulations to the graduates.
“This event is exciting because it’s about family and it’s about community and it’s about graduates,” he said. “Graduating from college is an extremely difficult thing and I am so proud of everyone who has accomplished this.”
The speeches were followed by a performance by the female a cappella group, Title IX, and dinner. Following the meal, the spirit awards and director’s distinction awards were presented to influential members of the LGBT community, including the center’s programming director, Virginia Martin, and the center’s previous graduate assistant, Nancy Baur.
After the awards, each of the 20 graduates were recognized individually and given rainbow tassels and pins that they will don during the formal graduation ceremony next month.
“This event has been held for a long time and we have a long tradition for members of the LGBT community and its allies to publicly recognize graduates,” said Megan Villegas, graduate assistant for the LGBT Center. “I think it’s important because it’s not just academic, but based on different character things.”