Emmy-winning actress to speak at Lavender Graduation


By Nicole Ruse, Copy Editor


The fifth annual Lavender Graduation Ceremony will be hosted by EWU in the Showalter Auditorium on May 1, sponsored by Eastern’s Pride Center.

The ceremony recognizes graduating LGBTQIA students from Spokane-area community colleges, universities and high schools.

Sandy Williams, EWU pride center coordinator, said the graduation ceremony keeps growing every year upon each new incoming class.

“It is an opportunity for the LGBTQIA community in the Spokane area and especially our allies to focus on the next generation. To celebrate them, honor them and to acknowledge their role in changing things for the better,” said Williams in an email.

The students will be acknowledged for their successes and ability to overcome challenges. The ceremony will also recognize the students’ community service endeavours.

LGBTQIA students who are going to graduate, or who have recently graduated, from a local high school or college are encouraged to participate. Students who register for the graduation ceremony will receive a rainbow tassel, lavender stole and a certificate of accomplishment.

The EWU Pride Center’s mission is to promote campus inclusion and respect for diversity through outreach programs and education, as well as a safe environment for the LGBTQIA students, faculty and staff on campus.

Williams says the Lavender Graduation is her favorite event of the year.

“Besides being fun, it is also very emotional,” said Williams. “I have watched as students who maybe started school scared or unsure about themselves have blossomed into amazing young adults ready to take on the world, and the Lavender Graduation gives me the opportunity to share in that journey with them.”

The Lavender Graduation will feature student speakers and will honor friends and family members that graduating students specifically nominated to receive special recognition for their support and inspiration.

This year’s keynote speaker is Emmy-awarding winning actress, author and producer Crystal Chappell, who has starred in television shows such as “Guiding Light,” which is about two mothers who fall in love. She currently stars in the television soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” and is as an executive producer for the political drama, “Beacon Hill.”

Chappell is an outspoken ally for the LGBTQIA community.

“I’m honored to be asked to speak to these amazing graduates,” said Chappell.

Before the graduation, Chappell will be offering a lecture in Showalter Auditorium to discuss her television fame, her new book, “The Perfect Art of Imperfection” and how an award-winning actress became a strong ally for the gay community in Hollywood.

Students that want to participate in the graduation ceremony are required to register by contacting Sandy Williams, pride center coordinator, at (509) 359-7870 or [email protected]. Students can stop by the Pride Center in Showalter to fill out the forms as well.