BLACKSBURG, Va., May 5, 2008 – The Virginia Tech community will celebrate the Donning of the Kente pre-graduation ceremony on May 8.
Virginia Tech adopted the Donning of the Kente in 1995. The event celebrates the current accomplishments of graduating students of color and the history of black student achievement at Virginia Tech. The ceremony will be led by keynote speaker, C.R. Gibbs, author, lecturer, and D.C. Commission on Arts Humanities Scholar. Gibbs wrote, researched, and narrated Sketches of Color, a 13 part companion series to the Public Broadcasting Service series, The Civil War, for a Howard University television station.
During the Donning of the Kente ceremony, graduates who wish to participate, will be draped in the stripes of Kente, a colorful cloth stole native to Ghana. Though Kente was developed in the 17th century by the Ashanti people, it has its roots in a long tradition of African weaving, dating back to about 3000 B.C. The ceremony, often reserved for special occasions or royalty, is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious beliefs, social values, and political thoughts.
The Donning of the Kente ceremony is open to everyone and will be held on May 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the Graduate Life Center, Multipurpose Room. A reception will immediately follow. More information can be found in the related campus notice or by e-mail to Lauren Davis or Kristen Swanson.
Donning of the Kente is sponsored by the Black Organizations Councils and is supported by Multicultural Programs and Services, the Dean of Students office, and University Unions and Student Activities, all departments within the Division of Student Affairs; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program; the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; and the College of Engineering.
PHOTO INFORMATION: The Kente cloth stole marks the common thread of ancestry among black graduates.