Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Donning of the Kente graduation ceremony honors African culture, student achievement May 10


Donning of the Kente ceremony A student receives the Kente cloth at the Donning of the Kente graduation ceremony.

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 25, 2012 – Virginia Tech’s Black Organizations Council will hold the 35th annual Donning of the Kente ceremony on Thursday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Graduate Life Center.

The ceremony celebrates the current accomplishments of graduating black students as well as the history of black students' achievements at Virginia Tech. The event is free and open to the public, and family and friends are encouraged to attend as an important part of this recognition ceremony.

During the ceremony, a keynote speech will be delivered by a member of the Black Cultural Center Alumni Advisory Board, and students’ friends and families will be offered the opportunity to give a short speech about the student before draping him or her 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. Often reserved for special occasions or royalty, the stole is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious beliefs, social values, and political thoughts.

The ceremony also offers community members a chance to say goodbye to students who have been a part of the community for several years.

“I think Donning of the Kente is great because it brings the community together and gives everyone a chance to congratulate and send well-wishes to students,” said Black Organizations Council Vice President Lauren Heming of Alexandria, Va., a junior majoring in accounting in the Pamplin College of Business. “For many graduates, Donning of the Kente is the last involvement they will have in this community as a student here at Virginia Tech before graduating and starting the next chapter in their lives.”

For more information on the Donning of the Kente ceremony and other upcoming multicultural programs, visit the Multicultural Programs and Services website.

With a visitor’s pass, parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Architecture Annex Lot also on Otey Street. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located at 965 Prices Fork Road, near the intersection of Prices Fork and University City Boulevard next to the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. A visitor’s pass may also be obtained from the Virginia Tech Police Station, located on Sterrett Drive, outside of the Visitor Information Center hours. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.

The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.

Written by Jennifer Gibson.