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Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement Hosting Kente Graduation Ceremony May 6

Mon, 04/17/2023 - 09:46am | By: David Tisdale

Kente Graduation PosterThe University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement will host its annual Kente Graduation Ceremony Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. in the Thad Cochran Center Ballroom on the Hattiesburg campus as part of the University’s overall spring commencement events.

The Kente Graduation Ceremony celebrates all Black and African American seniors and graduate students graduating in the fall and spring semesters; it is designed to share and celebrate the heritage and accomplishments of members of the African diaspora who are part of the university’s graduating class as they transition into the professional world.

Students participating in the ceremony receive a hand-woven Kente stole from Ghana, Africa, and cloth that dates to 12th century Africa, Ghana, and the Ashanti people. This cloth is traditionally worn by kings, queens, and influential figures in Ghana’s society during ceremonial occasions.

“Our goal with the Kente Graduation Ceremony is to empower our students to be authentic and encourage them to pursue their dreams as they receive recognition walking across the stage,” said Jaborius Ball, director of the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. “Many of our students are first-generation college students, meaning they are the first in their families to graduate from college. With that, we want their families to come and celebrate them because It takes a community.”

Trey Meadows, a senior media and entertainment arts management major from Laurel, Mississippi majoring in Media and Entertainment Arts management, plans to participate in the Kente Ceremony. Meadows says the ceremony is significant to him because it highlights Black excellence.

“I'll be able to celebrate this achievement with my family and loved ones as I receive my Kente stole,” said Meadows, who plans to work at a major record label after graduation and then eventually start his own company. “In addition, this ceremony highlights an often-overlooked community. Years ago, Black people weren't allowed to join the University, let alone graduate. However, greatness is in everyone, and recognizing that is important." 

 For information about participation in the Kente Graduation Ceremony, email Ball. Learn more about the USM Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement, please visit their website.