Lavender Graduation

People honored for advocacy and support of UMKC’s LGBTQIA community

Students and friends were honored during the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s 13th annual Lavender Graduation Banquet and Pride Awards Celebration.

LGBTQIA Programs and Services, part of the UMKC Office of Student Involvement, organizes the banquet that celebrates LGBTQIA graduates and Pride Award recipients. The ceremony was rescheduled for the morning of May 12 following a power outage May 10 at UMKC.

The UMKC Pride Awards recognized members of the UMKC community who have contributed to the betterment of the LGBTQIA community through education, support, programming or activism.

Outstanding Faculty & Staff Award

  • Tiffany Hamilton, UMKC Assistant Dean of Students. Her nominator shared: “For her, it’s clearly not a job or a professional responsibility, but a personal call to serve those who are often forgotten. Her commitment to LGBT students is represented from the relationships she fosters with students to the way she advocates for them at the highest level.”

Jim Wanser Award

  • Helen Proctor, a College of Arts and Sciences senior studying Philosophy with a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Proctor is a cofounder of the Squad of Siblings, a local grassroots organization dedicated to combating gender-based sexual violence in Kansas City. Proctor has served on a number of educational panels dedicated to increasing awareness of concerns in the LGBTQIA community and was selected to present a workshop at the Midwest LGBT College Conference this past February in Chicago. This award was named in honor of Jim Wanser and his legacy at UMKC; Wanser served as the faculty adviser to the Gay and Lesbian Student Alliance, an LGBT organization founded in 1990. The award recognizes an individual who has volunteered hours of service to the UMKC LGBTQIA community or the greater Kansas City LGBTQIA community.

Outstanding Alumni Award

  • Lee Hartman. For the past five years, Hartman has served as the artistic director of the Mid America Freedom Band, a Kansas City-based LGBTQIA community band. Through his leadership, the organization has almost doubled in that time and performs four concerts each season at the World War I Museum and Memorial. He is also involved with the Kansas City AIDS Walk, the Heartland Men’s Chorus and the KC Women’s Chorus. Hartman received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition and his Master of Music in Composition from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. This award was created to recognize one UMKC Alumni who works toward fostering an including community, at UMKC or in the community in which they live and work.


Collaborative Excellence Award

  • UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion. The division is leading institutional change and transformation through several initiatives designed to promote a diverse, creative and inclusive institutional culture that contributes to a climate of success for all of UMKC. This award was created to recognize departments or campus organizations whose collaborative efforts have resulted in important resources and services for LGBTQIA students, faculty, staff or community members.

LGBTQIA Student of the Year

  • Zendrix Berndt is graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and an emphasis in Anthropology. He has been an active student on campus, co-founding and serving as the president of Delta Lambda Phi, UMKC’s historically gay/bi/trans inclusive men’s fraternity. His work particularly centered on the experience of black gay men. Berndt is also a recipient of the LGBTQIA Leadership Scholarship. This award was created to recognize one student for outstanding leadership, dedication and service within the university, or in the community, that has resulted in new or revitalized resources, services or programs for the LGBTQIA community.

At the end of the awards presentation, graduates were presented with their lavender stoles, which they wore at commencement.


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