This annual event celebrates LGBTQ+ and Allied students having completed their Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. A capstone experience like no other! This celebration marks the transition of our LGBTQ+ and Allied student scholars from the academic experience to the working world. Graduates that participate in our formal celebration are receiving their degree in the Spring, Summer or December of the same year and are encouraged to invite friends, allies and family to attend.
During the event graduates receive a rainbow tassel, hear from LGBTQ+ and Allied Alumni, fellow graduates and are received by LGBTQ+ Faculty members and Allies in a celebration you are sure to remember! Reception then follows.
Lavender Celebration is accompanied by awards celebrating Faculty, Staff, Students and Alum who have contributed greatly to the LGBTQ+ Community. Nominations open in March/April each year and will be made available online through My Involvement.
This event is brought to you by the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement, The Gender & Sexuality Concerns Office within Student Association, The Division of Student Affairs with the support of the Office of Undergraduate Education and made possible through a generous grant from University Auxiliary Services.
Lavender Award Descriptions
The Nancy Belowich-Negron SAFE SPACE Award
Nancy Belowich-Negron was the Director of the Disability Resource Center at UAlbany for over 30 years. During that time she served as the lead trainer for NCBI and spear headed the development of Safe Space training in the Fall of 2008. Although Nancy retired in the Fall of 2013 her spirit and resolve continue to flow through the lives she touched in her time here at UAlbany.
This award is given to a member of the University at Albany Community whose dedication to deliberate dialogue around intersectional identities embodies Nancy’s spirit, and who has made substantial contributions in continuing to forge Brave Safe Spaces on campus either through their work with the Safe Space Program or other campus commitments.
OUT-Standing Faculty or Staff Award
This award recognizes a UAlbany faculty or staff member whose leadership promotes understanding and inspires others to improve the climate for the LGBTQ+ campus community.
Excellence in LGBTQ+ Scholarship/Creative Works
The Excellence in LGBTQ+ Scholarship and/or Creative Works Award is given to an LGBTQ+ faculty, staff or student whose work in research/publishing and/or creative work forges brave new paths and/or whose research/work furthers matters important to LGBTQ+ scholarship/representation.
The Harvey Milk Alumnus Award
Harvey Milk (‘51). After leaving the University at Albany, known then as the New York State College for Teachers in Albany, Harvey became a teacher in NYC and later moved to California where he became the first openly gay man elected to a public office.
This award is given to a University Alum who upon leaving the university has made substantial contributions to social justice issues in their work and/or community involvement.
Gender Warrior Award
The Gender Warrior Award is given to a faculty, staff, student or department that has made a substantial impact on issues of gender equity, who has challenged the barriers and constructs of gender and promoted social justice.
Departmental Inclusion Award
This award recognizes a UAlbany department who has made a significant, sustained contribution to furthering LGBTQ+ inclusion through their work or resources on campus or in the community.
Dreamer Achiever Award
This award is given to a department, faculty, staff, student or student group with a vision, who dares to dream and whose drive and passion toward that vision results in new resources and inspires others.
This award recognizes UAlbany students, faculty, or staff members who make outstanding contributions to LGBTQ+ resources on campus and/or broader communities without holding an elected office within an organization.
Unsung Hero Award
This award recognizes a UAlbany department, student, student group, faculty, or staff member who has made outstanding contributions to LGBTQ+ initiatives on campus and/or in the broader community. Over the past few years this university has seen a large increase in resources and awareness of LGBTQ+ issues. However we must always strive to recognize and remember the members of our campus community who have contributed to this success over the years but whom may not have been formally recognized.
Amazing Ally Award
An Ally is defined as someone who advocates, serves on committees, mentors and/or provides ally development for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ campus community. This award recognizes a UAlbany department, faculty, staff, student or student group who has provided support to and made advances on behalf of the LGBTQ+ and allied campus community.
2019 Award Recipients
Nancy Belowich-Negron Safe Space Award: Alex Morales, Class of 2019
OUT-Standing Faculty Staff Award: Barbara Rio-Glick, MSW School of Social Welfare
Excellence in LGBTQ+ Scholarship: Darren Cosgrove, MSW School of Social Welfare
Excellence in LGBTQ+ Creative Works: Andi Lyons, Department of Music and Theater
Unsung Hero Award: Laura Evelyn, Class of 2019
Amazing Advocate Award: Shelby Mack, Class of 2019
Dreamer Achiever Award: Daniel Pinzon, Class of 2019
Gender Warrior Award: Elliott Garcia, Class of 2019
Volunteer Award: Michael Cardom Class of 2019 and Robert Cardom, PhD, Counseling & Psychological Services
Harvey Milk Alumnus Award: Gary Pavlic, Founder GALA 1971
Departmental Inclusion Award: Assessment and Planning, Student Affairs
2018 Award Recipients
The Nancy Belowich-Negron Safe Space Award: Dr. Angelina Diaz-Myers, Counseling & Psychological Services
OUT-Standing Faculty Staff Award: Dr. Sarah Nolan, Director of Middle Earth
Excellence in LGBTQ+ Research: Dr. Trevor Hoppe, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Amazing Advocate Award: Mitchell Rybak and Hallie Landewhr, Class of 2018
Dreamer Achiever Award: Cavanaugh Quick, MSW, Class of 2018
Unsung Hero Award: Franchelis Calderon & Shaye Taylor, Class of 2018
Gender Warrior Award: Jerlisa Fontaine, Class of 2018, Student Association President
Gender Warrior Award~
Sarah Gauthier, Founder of Trans*Action
Alumni Award~ Gloria DeSole
2013 Award Recipients
Belowich-Negron Safe Space Award – Nancy Belowich-Negron, Director Disability
Resource Center, NCBI trainer and Safe Space training founder
OUT-Standing Faculty/Staff Award ~ Dana Peterson, School
of Criminal Justice Amazing Ally Award ~ Alisha
Hennet- Campus Recreation
The Dreamer Achiever Award~ Vanessa Panfil , Ph.d. Candidate in the School of
Criminal Justice Departmental Diversity
Award~ The Advisement Services Center Volunteer Award ~Samantha
Arpino, Senior, (SA, ATV, GRL, GSRC, Safe Space) Unsung Hero Award~ Dept. Of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Gender Warrior Award~ The Office of Facilities Management Harvey Milk Alumni Award~
2012 Award Recipients
Faculty/Staff Award ~ Sue Faermen, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Amazing Ally Award ~ College Democrats
The Dreamer Achiever Award~ Courtney D’Allaird, GA, OMSS
Departmental Diversity Award~ Office of Study Abroad and
International Student Services
Volunteer Award ~ Andrew Blackburn, Sophomore, Bio, GSRC
Unsung Hero Award~ Kirk Leszczynski, Res- Life, Assistant Director
Gender Warrior Award~ (GOE) GLBT Organizing and Educating
Harvey Milk Alumni Award~ Norah Yates, Executive Director Capital District
2011 Award Recipients
Faculty/Staff Award ~ Livia DaSilva, Financial Aid
Amazing Ally Award ~ Middle Earth (Ashley Huie and
Dr. Delores Cimini) The Dreamer Achiever Award~ Lee Friedlander, Junior
Departmental Diversity Award~ Social Welfare (Arlene Lev and
Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson)
Volunteer Award ~ Melissa Dymond
Unsung Hero Award~ Nicole Lamarre – PhD Candidate and Adjunct
(Sociology & Womens Studies)
Gender Warrior Award~ None
Harvey Milk Alumni Award~ Joe Valentino, ‘87
2010 Award Recipients
Faculty/Staff Award ~ Nancy Belowich Negron
Amazing Ally Award ~ Estella Rivera, Heidi Wright & Delores Cimini
The Dreamer Achiever Award~ Gamma Rho Lambda Inc
Departmental Diversity Award~ Office of Multicultural Student
Volunteer Award ~ Eric
Keenaghan, Chair (English) LGBT Committee
Unsung Hero Award~ Steve Seidmen (Sociology) , Arlene Lev (Social Welfare) Gender Warrior Award~ Residential Life (Jay Oddi and Holly Barker Flynn) Harvey Milk Alumni Award~ Ron Simmons ’72 & ‘78
2009 Award Recipients
Award ~ Christine Bouchard VP of Student Success
Amazing Ally Award ~ Sigma Iota Sigma, Multicultural Sorority Incorporated
The Dreamer Achiever Award~ Giovanni Ian Cox, Project Inspire
Departmental Diversity Award~ Career Services, LGBT Resource Website
Volunteer Award~ Zenia Sabani, NELGBTC
Unsung Hero Award~ Pride Alliance & Carol Stenger "The Sex Lady"
Gender Warrior Award~ Erin Conlon, Vagina Monologues
Harvey Milk Alumni Award~ Charles Lickel ' 71, VP Software IBM