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NYS Writers Institute honored at UAlbany Lavender Ceremony

The Lavender Awards celebrate the LGBTQ+ faculty, staff, and students each spring during the University at Albany's commencement week. At Wednesday's celebration, we were honored with the Departmental Inclusion Award, which recognizes "a University at Albany department that has made a significant and sustained contribution to the LGBTQ+ campus and broader community."


From Courtney D’Allaird, assistant director of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Affairs in the UAlbany Office of Intercultural Student Engagement:

Over the years The NYS Writers Institute has truly embodied Inclusive Excellence.

They have fearlessly curated and celebrated brave voices across the spectrum of literary publishing. Having brought distinguished writers from all over the world on intersecting topics of identity, social justice and exploration you have elevated our campus dialogue and centered voices that can so often be silenced. This kind of unprecedented leadership sets the bar high for the kind of community we know we are capable of achieving as Great Danes. Thank you and your entire team for your work and vision.


We're delighted to be recognized for our diverse programming and centering LGBTQ+ authors. The eye-catching crystal award will be proudly displayed at the welcome desk in our office.

Lavender Award

2023 Lavender Celebration program

NYS Writers Institute Opalka Endowed Director Paul Grondahl and Intercultural Student Engagement Ekow King at Wednesday's event.

NYS Writers Institute Opalka Endowed Director Paul Grondahl and Intercultural Student Engagement Ekow King at Wednesday's Lavender Celebration event.


History

In 1995 the first Lavender Graduation ceremony was coordinated at the University of Michigan by then LGBT Campus Resource Center Director Ronni Sanlo. Dr. Sanlo realized that LGBTQ+ students needed to be recognized for "not only their achievements but for surviving their college years." (Sanlo, 2000). The graduation began as an effort for students to feel connected to their institution and celebrate their identity. The first Lavender Celebration at the University at Albany was held in 2009.


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