In 1995 Ronni Sanlo, Ed.D, Director Emeritus of the UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center organized the first Lavender Graduation. 24 years later, in the Alumni Auditorium over 100 attendees bore witness to SUNY Downstate’s inaugural Lavender Graduation Ceremony. This ceremony, organized by PRIDE board members, Martin John, Daniel Beltre, Lisa Kim, and Toan Nguyen, and sponsored by Downstate’s SUNY PRIDE chapter, was created to honor the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ students.
President Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, was in attendance to witness and speak at the momentous occasion. College of Medicine students, Paige De Rosa and Robert Kim (both COM ’20) participated in the ceremony, with the keynote address delivered by Jennifer Flynn-Walker of Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY), a grassroots membership organization.