Donning of Kente honors graduates

About 70 Marshall University students who will graduate next week were honored at the Donning of Kente Celebration of Achievement ceremony at the Joan C. Edwards Theatre. The traditional African ceremony was hosted by Marshall’s center for African American students.

Among the speakers were Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert, Associate Vice President of Intercultural Affairs Maurice Cooley and Director of Disability Services Sandra Clements.

During the ceremony, Cooley emphasized the need to acknowledge and honor the graduating students. He said that these achievements were especially honorable for students of color.

“If there were 1,000 of you, only 200 would graduate with a Bachelor’s degrees,” Cooley said.

He also thanked the graduates’ families and spoke about how important their support is.

Speaking to the students, Cooley said that their families “looked after you at a time when you didn’t even know that was taking place.”

When Clements spoke to the students, she also emphasized the role of support.

“I want you to know that we have always had your back,” Clements said.

Clements said support plays an important role and the graduating students should offer support to the upcoming classes and be the “ambassadors for Marshall University.”

At the end of her speech, Clements encouraged the student to continue to challenge themselves to do great things.

“This is not the end of your journey,” Clements said. “This is only the first part and it is a very important part.”

The students were given traditional Kente cloths, a symbol of accomplishment.

The event was held in the Joan C. Edwards Theatre at 5 p.m. and was followed by a reception in the Memorial Student Center.

Sage Shavers can be contacted at [email protected]