The Black Graduation Ceremony is a pre-commencement celebration to honor Black and African American students who have demonstrated the commitment and focus needed to successfully complete an undergraduate or graduate degree from the Western Oregon University. The event recognizes their accomplishment and provides an opportunity for graduates to honor significant people who have helped them achieve their goals. Students are honored together in one setting, and their families also get the opportunity to celebrate their hard work and dedication. The ceremony reinforces the bonds of scholarship and extends the sense of community. The intimate ceremony is representative of Black and African American culture and culminates with a Kente Stole presentation.
During the ceremony each graduate will be stoled with a Kente cloth, 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 royalty, the stole is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious beliefs, social values, and political thoughts.
Approximately 10 WOU students participate in this celebration each year