April 25, 2024

WSU hails student diversity with annual graduation celebrations

Pre-commencement graduation celebrations, such as the Black Graduation Celebration of Excellence, allow for the uplift of graduates through a cultural lens

As part of its extensive pre-commencement ceremonies tradition, Wayne State University will once again host a series of graduation celebrations designed both to honor the academic achievements of diverse students and spotlight the cultural richness of those students’ communities.

On April 26, the university will host the Middle Eastern and North African Pre-Commencement Celebration, sponsored by WSU Middle Eastern North African+ Employee Association in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This event will take place in the midst of National Arab American Heritage Month, which was recently recognized in a university proclamation.

The following day, Wayne State will host its longest-running student celebration, the 31st annual Black Graduation Celebration of Excellence, an African-centered pre-commencement ceremony that honors undergraduate, graduate and professional school students who have successfully completed their studies at the university. 

“As a university that prides itself on offering educational opportunities and access to traditionally underrepresented communities, we believe it is of the utmost importance to be able to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of students from such a rich assortment of ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds,” said Donyale Padgett, Ph.D., WSU’s chief diversity officer. “And we are delighted to be able to remind our students of how proud we are of their accomplishments.”

On April 29, WSU will present the 2024 El Nuevo Comienzo Latina/o/x and Native Student Graduation Celebration. El Nuevo Comienzo, or “new beginning,” highlights the success and achievements of Latina/o/x and Native graduates of Wayne State University and offers time and space for honoring the support and contributions of family, friends, mentors and the community.

And on April 30, the university will sponsor the Rainbow Graduation, Awards Ceremony and Homecoming, which honors graduating LGBTQ+ and ally students. The ceremony also celebrates those who have earned scholarships and those whose advocacy supports and uplifts LGBTQ+ life on campus. 

“It always brings a smile to my face to see the joy present in the audience as we celebrate the success of our graduates,” said Stephanie Hawkes, senior director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement. “The hugs, the waves, the cheers — it’s just amazing. The celebrations allow us to recognize the resilience, community support and excellence of our graduates through a cultural lens, and I’m happy to be able to be a part of that.”

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