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Lavender Graduation

Lavender Graduation is an annual graduation and award ceremony celebrating our graduating LGBTQ and allied students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, the School of General Studies and Barnard College, and acknowledges their contributions to the LGBTQ community.

Lavender Graduation Speakers


Sabina Tyler Monica Jones CC’20

Senior Speaker

Avatara Smith-Carrington

Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal 
Defense and Education Fund
Keynote Speaker


Tribute to the Lavender Graduation Class of 2020


LGBTQ Legacy Award

Honors graduating students who have left an indelible mark on the LGBTQ community at Columbia University and Barnard College in the form of advocacy, support services, community building and/or positive change.

Sabina Tyler Monica Jones CC'20 (She/Her)

“I thank Proud Colors for being my home on campus, where I always felt comfortable being my truest self. I also thank Multicultural Affair’s Queer and Trans Advisory Board for allowing me to be involved from the beginning in the different paths and manifestations of growth that we have created. I also thank the Columbia College community and the Black Students’ Organization for electing me the first Gender and Sexuality Representative and the first LGBTQ+ Outreach chair, respectively. As a member of the community, I am delighted and proud to be recognized by those who mean the most to me at Columbia’s campus.”

Isaac Alexandre Jean-Francois CC'20 (He/Him)

Isaac has been a Queer and Trans Student Advisory Board Board Member since his sophomore year and is currently the secretary of the Board of Directors of the Stonewall Community Foundation. He has strived to advocate for our LGBTQIA+ community inside and outside of the seminar room as a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major.

Galen Hawkins CC'20 (Any Pronouns)

Galen thanks the residents of Q House for allowing him to serve them as their RA, and also thanks the members of Proud Colors for facilitating us in discussing our lives with each other every Tuesday. These two events have truly kept me grounded when I felt myself lifting away. I’m very proud to be involved in both of these organizations.

Charlie Blanc GS'20 (They/Them)

Charlie took up the position of president of the GS Alliance as a senior hoping to expand this safe(r) space for LGBTQIA+ students, as well as to bring up more discussions around political activism within it. With similar intentions but a broader audience, they participated in the organization of Queer Awareness Month 2019.

Mentorship Award

Honors students who have served as mentors and guides for LGBTQ rising leaders and have contributed to a continued culture of LGBTQ mentorship at Columbia University and Barnard College.

Ben Eisenstadt CC'20 (He/Him)

Ben founded the student group Voices in Neuroscience, which seeks to unite students from underrepresented backgrounds with a passion for science related to identity and society. This group provides a community space for members to discuss their personal challenges, to learn from and network with scientific professionals from underrepresented communities in New York City and to refine scientific communication skills within a constructive environment.

Tevis Robinson CC'20 (He/Him)

Tevis grew up in a small town in West Virginia where the norms of the community did not allow him to exhibit his queerness. He was able to let it out at Columbia University and in New York City. There, he wanted to be as flamboyant and outspoken as possible, attending LGBTQ conferences across the country, being a Campus Ambassador for GLAAD and Out for Undergrad, as well as being the International Representative for the LSESU Pride Alliance during his tenure studying abroad at The London School of Economics and Political Science. He believes that there is nothing truly more liberating than being yourself

Rose Gibbs GS’20 (She/Her)

“Having grown up and come out during a time when being gay was much less accepted than it is now, I am keenly aware that a supportive network of people who have walked down a similar path of self-acceptance and dealt with friends and family who judge you for your sexual orientation, I know how important it is to have someone who is willing to ‘be there’ for each other.  I try to be that for anyone in the LGBTQIA community both at Columbia and in the world at large.”

OUTstanding Leadership

Recognizes rising LGBTQ student leaders at Columbia University and Barnard College who have exemplified outstanding leadership over the past year through a dedication to enhancing the LGBTQ community. 

Avidan Brown GS’21 (He/Him)

Avidan is a former professional athlete who has had to deal with the ins and outs of navigating his sexuality in a sometimes less-than-welcoming environment. “When I started at Columbia I finally felt that I had the ability and agency to apply all that I learned and desired to learn in an attempt to assist my fellow students. I have been working for the last two years as president and then VP of GS Alliance to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity, diversity and acceptance. Together with my fellow students serving on the board, we worked to bring educational programming, advocacy projects and social inclusion to as much of the student body as we could reach.” 

Zamaan Hashmi SEAS’22 (He/Him)

“As a cofounder of QFaith and as a chair for the Columbia Mentoring Initiative, I have sought and continue to seek to support people by building vibrant LGBTQ+ spaces. I try to focus on bringing activism and genuine intersectionality to the institutional core.”

Dean Peter J. Awn Faculty/Staff Award

Recognizes faculty, staff and/or departments who/that have exhibited a commitment to the LGBTQ community in their work at Columbia University and Barnard College.

Daniel Chiarelli (He/Him)

Daniel has been working at the Gay Health Advocacy Project, part of Columbia Health, since 2005. Over the past few years, he has worked closely with queer and trans students as part of the Queer & Trans Resource Team led by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, as well as the Transgender and Gender Expansive Health Team at Columbia Health. “What a pleasure it is to be around such cool coworkers and students! Cheers to the Class of 2020!” 

Getting involved with Columbia Pride

Welcome to Columbia Pride, the University-wide alumni association for LGBTQIA+ members of the Columbia community! Stay up to date on upcoming Pride Month events and opportunities to connect:

Pride is excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to the alumni community. Join us for a happy hour celebrating YOU on Wednesday, May 27. Register here.

We also invite you to reach out to us directly at Congratulations!

Lavender Graduation Graduates

Athena Abadilla BC'20Daria Forde BC'20Sophia Lanier BC'20Tevis Robinson CC'20
Ruthy Amkraut CC'20Katrina Francis SEAS'20Raphael Lee CC'20Alexa Roman CC'20
Eddie Baker CC'20Giorgia Fujita SEAS'20Marina Levy BC'20Em Rosner BC'20
Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn BC'20Zehui Gao SEAS'20Lara Lewison CC'20Aydan Shahd BC'20
Sara Bellan BC'20Rachel Gates BC'20Mary Liu GS'20Molly Shapiro BC'20
Blakey Bessire BC'20Nina González Silas BC'20Inga Manticas CC'20Timothy Shertzer SEAS'20
Charlie Blanc GS'20Alexander Gonzalez Torres CC'20Uila Marx BC'20Maya Sibul BC'20
Michelle Capuno GS'20Nick Gupta GS'20Janis McAllister BC'20Eliza Siegel BC'20
Jay Castro CC'20Laura Hand CC'20Darinelle Merced-Calderon CC'20Georgia Silva CC'20
Michelle Chow BC'20Luke Haubenstock CC'20Amanda Merritt BC'20Mia Simon BC'20
Jessica Cruz BC'20Galen Hawkins CC'20Kyeongjoo Min CC'20Alison Simons CC'20
Christian Cruz CC'20Allison Hung CC'20Mason Murray CC'20CJ Strauss BC'20
Teresa Deely CC'20Greg Inchaustegui GS'20Salma Nakhlawi BC'20Alex Tang CC'20
Adri Denbroeder BC'20Isaac Jean-François CC'20Richie Ngo SEAS'20Mira Tignor BC'20
Kay Christopher Dente-Ferguson BC'20Mads Jensen GS'20Erica Nieves GS'20Xitlalli Vazquez BC'20
Kira DeSimone BC'20Camille Johnson BC'20Isabella Oliva BC'20Harrison Voss SEAS'20
Hayes Devaney BC'20Sabina Jones CC'20Thomas Phelan CC'20Sara Walker BC'20
Alejandro Diaz Tur GS'20Batya Kemper BC'20Xana Pierone BC'20Rachel Ning Wan SEAS'20
Victoria Dreyer CC'20Julia Khan BC'20Emily Quinn BC'20Jules Weingarden BC'20
Morgan Edmonds CC'20Victoria Krovatin BC'20Jane Reel BC'20Elektra Williams CC'20
David Ehmcke CC'20Stephen Kuster CC'20Veornica Roach CC'20Haoqi Xia CC'20
Ben Eisenstadt CC'20Ana Lam BC'20Taylor Roberts-Sampson CC'20Alex Zhang CC'20

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