Donning of the Kente ceremony celebrates student achievements at graduation
May 1, 2009
On Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m., the Black Organizations Council (BOC) will hold its annual Donning of the Kente ceremony in the Multipurpose Room at the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown.
The ceremony, which celebrates the current accomplishments of graduating students of color and the history of black student achievement at Virginia Tech, is open to the public.
This year’s Donning of the Kente will feature an address by keynote speaker Randy Lucas, a Virginia Tech alumnus and former president of the BOC. In addition, the dance group Tropical Productions from Fort Worth, Texas, will provide traditional African dancing for the ceremony. This will be accompanied by the traditional adorning of the Kente stole, and a dinner reception.
During the ceremony, participating graduates 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.
Written by Chris Gustin.