Graduation ceremonies recognize specific minority groups on campus


Falcon Media Staff

Bowen Thompson Student Union at Bowling Green State University.

Alivia Hartpence, Reporter

Identity-based graduation ceremonies aren’t new to BGSU’s campus but are becoming increasingly more important to graduating seniors. 

On BGSU’s website, they explain that the purpose of these graduations is to “provide space for graduates to celebrate their time at BGSU, recognize their accomplishments, and honor the communities who have made their experiences around their shared identity.”

The New York Times covered a story in 2017, highlighting identity-based graduations and since then schools like Columbia, Ohio State and BGSU have followed the trend.

BGSU currently holds three cultural graduation ceremonies; Black graduation, Latino/a/x graduation, and LGBTQ+ (Lavender) graduation.

Each ceremony is held on a different day, and honors graduates and their communities before the all-encompassing commencement ceremony held later in April.

The Black Graduation ceremony held last Saturday had multiple speakers and an honorary walk of the graduates where they received stoles that were placed by people of their choosing.

The Latino/a/x graduation ceremony was held Sunday, April 16, in the Bowen Thompson Student Union. The Lavender graduation was Monday, April 17, at 4:30 in the BTSU. 

One of the commencement speakers at the Black graduation, 2023 graduate Daryl Mccoy, commemorated the graduates in his speech when talking about celebrating Black students.

“Sometimes you have to encourage yourself, and sometimes you have to celebrate yourself. It’s alright to go hard for yourself,”

Graduating senior on the pre-med track, Brigitte Okyere, said the Black graduation ceremony is important to her because of how often she is the only Black student in a classroom. 

“Sometimes you’ll be in the class, and you’re the only Black person, Latino person, whatever you may be, you might be that only person in the class. You’re going to see a lot of people that don’t look like you,” Okyere said. 

Okyere said she was emotional at the ceremony, thinking “I really did it, and I’m being honored and thought of.”