The 2014 Donning of Kente Celebration will take place Thursday, May 1, at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.
The event is sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Affairs and the Center for African American Students. The ceremony, chiefly and traditionally presented for students of African/African-American ancestry, is an inclusive ceremony open to all students graduating in the spring or summer of 2014.
The Donning of Kente embraces the experience and symbolism associated with the Kente cloth, adopted by the Ashanti Nation of Ghana. The tradition dates to the 16th century West African practice of recognizing an individual’s extraordinary achievements.
“The Donning of Kente ceremony is by far the most awesome and the most prestigious ceremony that our university students of African and African American ancestry and others choose to participate in,” said Maurice Cooley, associate vice president for intercultural affairs. “It is the greatest one that we have throughout the year because it recognizes the great accomplishments of all the years of hard work through this pre-16th century West African tradition around the kente. We celebrate this day with the deans of all of our colleges, the president and provost.”
The ceremony will begin with a processional and musical performance by the MU African Dance and Drum Ensemble. Michelle Douglas, director of the Office of Human Resources at Marshall, will deliver the Kente speech.
The students will line up in the student center lobby beginning at 4:15 p.m., with participating deans and faculty lining up on the second floor of the Performing arts center at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony is set to begin at 5 p.m.