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September 29, 2023

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Black graduation to celebrate graduating seniors

Black Graduation is a less-formal graduation ceremony formed by the Black Student Union in order to recognize and congratulate students of color on their achievements of finishing college.

The Annual Black Graduation Ceremony will be hosted Sunday May 4 in the Union Ballroom at 5 p.m.

Kevin Lewis, president of the Black Student Union, described what to expect from the ceremony.

“Black Graduation is a way for people of color to come together as a community in a less formal setting to celebrate the accomplishments of black graduates,” he said. “The ceremony is more close knit for the families opposed to a traditional graduation commencement.”

Greg Gantt, a member of Phi Beta Sigma, gave his opinion as to why Black Graduation is important.

“It is important to acknowledge people of color in this day and age because many of our people are not going to college, especially minorities,” Grant said. “When one of us actually attends college and reaches that point of graduation, it is important to highlight our successes because they are sometimes lost on a predominantly white campus.”

Lewis and Grant both said Black Graduation is about success and achievements by people of color, to be able to celebrate with the people who have a similar background. Everyone can come together and celebrate that they have made it together, regardless of the stigma that are put on African Americans.

“Black Graduation acknowledges the struggle of being an African American in college,” said Myka Watts, former SMART program team leader and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. “As an overall community, statistically we are struggling; however, Black Graduation acknowledges the fact that we can overcome barriers and defy statistics. Black Graduation acknowledges the fact that we made it.”

Black Graduation gives undergraduates something to look forward to when they become seniors, to be able to celebrate in a non-traditional way with family and close friends. Greeks are able to do their role calls, music will be played, food will be served and graduates will receive a certificates and kente cloth stoles.

“Black Graduation is not about exclusion, it is not about Us vs. Them,” Lewis said. “It is strictly about unity, community building and celebrating how far we have come together.”

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