Ceremonies Honor LGBTQIA and Multicultural Graduates and their Allies 

Posted Apr 25, 2022

By Madelyn Nelson ’23 

As Commencement nears and Otterbein students prepare to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas, there is a lot to celebrate. Before the stage is set up at Memorial Stadium for May 1, Otterbein celebrates the diversity of its students with Lavender Graduation and Noble Transitions.  

Lavender Graduation will recognize members of the LGBTQ community and its allies during a ceremony at 5 p.m. on April 25 in the Philomathean Room in Towers Hall. 

Noble Transitions will recognize 29 multicultural students at 5:30 p.m. on April 29 at the Westerville Amphitheater.  

These ceremonies reflect the meaningful connections and relationships students build within their support networks at Otterbein and gives them the chance to celebrate with their friends, families, and allies.  

Paige Skaff is graduating with degrees in sociology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and minors in political science and race and ethnic studies and will participate in Lavender Graduation. 

“Lavender Graduation features my fellow advocates at 150 W. Main, those students who facilitate Team Consent, members of Tri-Iota who lovingly allowed me to be their co-president this past year, and students who encompass a passion for intersectional change and support my work outside of the sphere of gender and sexual justice into racial/ethnic and disability justice as well,” Skaff said. 

“Having a time and space in which all of us can take a moment to recognize and celebrate our resilience, our radicalness, and our realities for a moment before we all part ways is so powerful,” she added. 

Jackie Lipnos will graduate with degrees in English literary studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies with a concentration in gender, culture, and representation and will also be a part of Lavender Graduation. 

“To participate in Lavender Graduation is to celebrate with the peers who have become like family,” said Lipnos. “To reflect on our time together, to thank each other for what we have shared, and to celebrate our accomplishments inside and outside our community.” 

Lavender Graduation encompasses the community students have experienced while at Otterbein. 

“It’s important to note that for many of us, this is the first time we have experienced a community of unconditional support, love, encouragement, and acceptance,” said Lipnos. “That is something to celebrate in and of itself.” 

Elijah McCutcheon will be a part of Noble Transitions and is graduating with a degree in political science and a minor in race and ethnic studies. After celebrating his peers’ achievements during Noble Transitions last year, he has the opportunity to patriciate and celebrate his own successes this year. 

“Noble Transitions is a true representation of what I’ve done here, which is speak up for the marginalized communities, be there in that space and in that place where they’re needed the most, and where their voice is needed,” said McCutcheon. “To me, Noble Transitions is going to be like, ‘you did this.’ That moment will just be very surreal.” 

One special attribute of Noble Transitions is that every student has the opportunity to speak during the ceremony. 

“The best part is that everyone has an opportunity to share about their Otterbein experience and thank those in the audience.” 

Not only is Noble Transitions a time to celebrate students’ success, but also honor those who came before them. 

“It means so much to join a legacy of scholars and innovators who change the world for the people around them,” said McCutcheon. 

Brittany Boyd will be participating in Lavender Graduation and will receive degrees in English literary studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Lavender Graduation serves as an opportunity to bid a proper goodbye before graduation. 

“This feels like the only adequate way to leave Otterbein,” said Boyd. “I can’t say goodbye to this school without saying goodbye to my professors and classmates that made college worth it. This community is what I will miss most about Otterbein.” 

“The community that I found here at Otterbein, and the people I will be celebrating with at Lavender Graduation are some of the people I feel closest to,” said Boyd. “They are my family, and I feel so blessed to share a space with them to celebrate our achievements.” 

Graduation allows students to reflect on their Otterbein experiences and share special moments with the people that made it what it is. The upcoming ceremonies are the perfect way to cap off all of their achievements and honor the impact they made on Otterbein. 

“I do not see this as a matter of celebrating my graduation with my peers, but rather one last connection with my friends – my Otterbein chosen family – before our lives and organizations change,” said Skaff.