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Monday, June 18, 2012

OSU Lavender graduation ceremony keynoted by Jeff Kenney

OSU Lavender gradation program 2012 keynote speaker Jeff Kenney

PHOTO: close up of the main program for the Oregon State University Lavender Celebration 2012 June 14th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM at The LaSells Stewart Center. It included a picture of the keynote speaker Jeffrey M Kenney Coordinator of LGBT Outreach and Services, Department of Intercultural Student Services, Division of Student Affairs 245 Snell Hall (541)737-6342) who recently replaced Steven Leider. Leider decided to seek a Masters Degree while working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant pursuing a Master of Arts in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program of the Oregon State University Women Studies Department led by Susan Shaw. (See my previous posts OSU LGBT Services Jeff Kenney replaces Steven Leider (6/2/12) and OSU School of Language, Culture and Society is perfect for OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund (2/19/12))

OSU Lavender gradation program 2012 list of graduates PHOTO: the program included a list of OSU graduates being honored by one person special to them at the OSU Lavender gradation program 2012. A total of 12 graduating students were honored, including only 2 science majors. The ratio of representation for all majors seemed to be skewed given that OSU is a university dominated by forestry, engineering, agricultural and science majors. If one conservatively estimates that 3% of all graduates have a minority sexual orientation or gender identity, then potentially there could have easily been 100 LGBT graduates attending. A 12 percent turnout for an event like this is pretty good given that many graduates are busy moving out of town. (These numbers were calculated given that the overall number of graduates from Oregon State University this year was 4,979 and approximately 70 percent were expected to attend the main formal graduation ceremony rather than skipping it. See Gail Cole, "Not your typical commencement," Gazette-Times posted Sunday, June 17, 2012.) The potential I see in the future is to raise the participation level of engineering, science and agriculture majors, who probably all claim to be too busy to participate.

Despite my health concerns after my recent stroke, I was able to attend the 2012 Oregon State University Lavender Celebration (formerly known as the Lavender Graduation) June 14th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM at The LaSells Stewart Center. I thank Steven Leider for driving me there because I am having a very hard time navigating in 3-D space as I go blind. I was surprised to be in a building I've visited for 30 years and feeling lost walking from the auditorium to the men's room. Fortunately, the stress of attending only caused me a few muscle contractures that I was able to recover from the next day.

I am very glad that I was able to attend and hear directly from recent graduates. I had heard about this tradition, which was started a few years ago, but I had never attended. This event complimented nicely the other special gradation ceremonies taking place across campus that are put on by individual departments to enhance the more impersonal main gradation ceremony. Of course despite the main graduation ceremony being more impersonal, and unlike other large universities, OSU has continued their tradition of giving each graduate his or her actual diploma. This year there was also an excellent keynote speech by the First Lady Michelle Obama for the main graduation event.

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