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Bestowing of the Kente Ceremony Honors African American Graduates

Bestowing of the Kente Ceremony Honors African American Graduates

As part of a tradition that goes back nearly 25 years, Alverno College held its Bestowing of the Kente ceremony on Sunday, May 12. The Bestowing of the Kente is a rite of passage recognizing African American students who are graduating seniors, earning a master’s degree, or completing a certification program. Each honoree chooses someone to present her with a Kente cloth, a colorful, hand-woven, ceremonial piece. This person is someone whose support was vital to the graduate’s success, and the graduate expresses their gratitude in a heartfelt, emotional exchange. The ceremony is a way for African American students and their families to celebrate their heritage as well as their achievement, and will include African drumming during the processional, and a kalimba (African thumb piano) during the presentation of the Kente cloths. Alverno is one of only a handful of colleges in the U.S. that recognize African American graduates with the Bestowing of the Kente ceremony separate from graduation. The Milwaukee Times ran an article about the event.