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Cultural Events

Annual Donning of the Kente
Graduation Ceremony




Why Kente?

The origins of Kente cloth date back to 12th century Africa, in the country of Ghana. The cloth was worn by Kings, Queens, and important figures of state in Ghanaian society, during ceremonial events and special occasions. In a total cultural context, Kente is more important than just a cloth. It is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, religious beliefs, political thought, and aesthetic principles. Today as African-Americans wear Kente cloth, they do so for inspiration, to honor, to celebrate, to connect, and to reflect on our collective heritage and communal struggles and successes.

The first "Donning of the Kente Ceremony" was held at Virginia Tech on the eve of spring commencement in 1995, as an African-American celebration of achievement sponsored by Virginia Tech's Black Organizations Council. Ronald Giddings was the founder of the "Donning of the Kente Ceremony" at Virginia Tech. It is a unique way to honor and recognize African-American graduates.

Create a Final Grand Memory

The most appropriate way to celebrate our University of Virginia students' success is to honor our undergraduates. Thus, the UVA Black Leadership Institute of the Office of African-American Affairs (O.A.A.A.) will recognize all graduating undergraduate students in our annual "Donning of the Kente Ceremony." This event will honor each student and his or her achievements. At this special ceremony, each student will be adorned with a Kente Graduation Stole. He or she can then wear the stole during the University-wide graduation ceremonies.

More information will be mailed to graduating students and their parents in the upcoming weeks.