More than 160 University of La Verne students from diverse cultures celebrated the completion of their degrees with friends and family on May 20-21 during three cultural graduation ceremonies in the Sports Science & Athletics Pavilion.
The annual celebrations acknowledged the achievements of the class of 2022 and showcased the accomplishments of individuals within a cultural context. This year’s ceremonies included the Multicultural Graduation Celebration, the Latinx Cultural Graduation Celebration, and the Black Cultural Graduation Celebration.
These celebrations supplement the main commencement ceremonies, which will take place at Ortmayer Stadium on the La Verne campus on May 27 and 28.
At the cultural graduation ceremonies, students are able to share a short statement of appreciation about those who have supported them throughout their academic journey. Students also wore sashes representing their cultural upbringings and identities. Sash options included:
- Black/Kente cultural sash
- Latinx/Recuerdo cultural sash
- Middle Eastern/Arabic cultural sash
- Multicultural/Unity in Diversity cultural sash
- Native American/Indigenous cultural sash
- Pacific Islander/Asian American cultural sash
- Rainbow/Lavender cultural sash
University of La Verne Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Alexandra Burrel served as the keynote speaker for the Multicultural Graduation Celebration on Friday evening. In her address, she talked to students about acknowledging the support of family members and friends along the journey to graduation.
“Their prayers, their support, their care packages, their calls…all of that added value and got you to where you are,” she said.
Helen Hernandez, president and founder of the Imagen Foundation and producer of the Imagen Awards, gave the keynote address during the Latinx Cultural Graduation Celebration on Saturday morning and Shannon Mathews, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, delivered the keynote at the Black Cultural Graduation Celebration on Saturday afternoon.
The Center of Multicultural Services coordinates the annual multicultural graduation celebrations. The center is one of the reasons many diverse students feel comfortable at the University of La Verne.
“It was a home to me. They let me be myself on campus. It was where I found like-minded people,” said Kimberly Hernandez, a student from Mexico who earned her bachelor of arts degree in business administration.
Hernandez credited Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs, and Misty Levingston, associate director for multicultural affairs and Black student services, for the support they provided her on her educational journey.
Loera said each multicultural graduation celebration aims to recognize family and friends as key components to their graduates’ academic success.
“It affirms the sacrifices families have made to support their student to attend college, and it solidifies for the student graduating that they too belong and are now ready to take on a new role with the family and in society,” Loera said.
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