An inclusive graduation

The Pan African studies department drumming during the ceremony, courtesy of Kent State University. 

Madison Brattoli

Graduation is a monumental moment for everyone, but while hundreds of names are being heard at the ceremony, it’s easy for students to feel overlooked by Kent State.

The Student Multicultural Center (SMC) works on creating an event for minority students to feel represented in the community.

Every semester, the SMC puts on a program titled Karamu Ya Wahitimu/ Celebración de Los Graduados for graduating seniors.

This program is a pre-commencement celebration and final Rites of Passage graduation ceremony that celebrates the accomplishments of all graduating African, African American, Native American and Latino/Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students.

This program gives Kent State minority students a graduation ceremony that fits their cultural elements.

The Pan African studies department puts on cultural drumming during the program giving the students a final sense of cultural affirmation.

Every semester, President Warren attends the ceremony, expressing her gratitude for the students’ involvement on campus.

During each ceremony, the SMC chooses a senior speaker, ensuring that they have been active with the SMC students.

This semester, Donald Thigpen will be the senior speaker. Thigpen was the first individual to direct the SMC office.

He was chosen as the speaker this year in order to continue celebrating SMC’s 50th year of existence.

“This year, since it’s our 50th, our graduates who participate in the fall and spring ceremonies will receive a special token that no other class will receive,” said Talea Drummer-Ferrell, the director of the SMC. “This token will commemorate the SMC’s 50 years.”

Drummer-Ferrell explains the speaker will present how the students can succeed after their years of college and represent the SMC in the real world.

These students have created a family here on campus, and this program allows them to give their final goodbyes to the organization that brought them together in their college years.

Students often express that when they first start in the SMC, they look forward to the inclusive graduation ceremony at the end of their college journey.

“It gives the community on campus more representation,” Katia Rodriguez public relations sophomore said. “It brings the community together one last time before they get out into the real world.”

 Madison Brattoli is the Diversity 2 reporter. Contact her at [email protected]