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UCR, 7th Annual Black Graduation Ceremony

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On Sunday, June 8, 2008, over 100 students will participate in the Annual Black Graduation at UC Riverside. The ceremony will take place at the Student Recreation Center at UCR at 2:00 pm. The purpose of the Black Graduation is to recognize the accomplishments of graduating seniors of African descent. It is also a time for the students to celebrate their achievements with their family and friends. African Student Programs' mission is to provide a graduation celebration that is representative of African American and African tradition, heritage, culture, and legacy. Over the years, Black Graduations have become an essential expression of a rite of passage at many colleges and universities throughout the nation and for the past seven years, UCR has adopted the tradition. The theme of the 2008 Black Graduation is "Honoring our Heritage, Continuing the Legacy."

The Master of Ceremonies is a senior graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Mr. Johnathan Williams. The Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Mr. James Sandoval will also be present to congratulate the graduates on their achievements. Following Black Men Rising, a group of students from Vista Del Lago High School in Moreno Valley will present a poem. The program also includes various staff members, a dance tribute by West African dance troupe, "We the People" and Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds delivering the Alumna Address.

Dr. Brown-Hinds earned her PhD in English Literature with an emphasis in African-American Literature & Culture from the University of California, Riverside, and has taught at various universities throughout the country including the University of Cincinnati, Pomona College, CSU San Bernardino, University of Redlands, and UC Riverside. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English and Communications Studies at La Sierra University in Riverside. Dr. Brown-Hinds is the founder and managing partner of BPC Mediaworks, LLC, a media strategy firm she founded with her sister in 2004.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Daniel Walker. He will deliver a powerful message. Possessing a doctorate (with distinction) in African American and Latin American History from the University of Houston, Dr. Daniel E. Walker is the Founding Director of the Gospel Music History Project and the Director of Research and Archive Development for the Gospel Music History Archive at the University of Southern California. The author of the book No More, No More: Slavery and Cultural Resistance in Havana and New Orleans, his writings on religion, history, and music have appeared in scholarly journals, newspapers, and national magazines. A consultant to California's Religion in American History Project, entities that have recognized him in the form of fellowships, awards, and grants include; the Louisville Institute, the Coro Foundation, the City of New York, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Texas State Historical Association, the Southern Conference on African American Studies, the National Parks Service, KGTV Television, the African American Public Policy Institute, the Historic Society of Southern California, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the Haynes Foundation. Dr. Walker currently serves as an associate professor of history at San Bernardino Valley College and a lecturer in the Ethnic Studies Department at UCR.

Dr. Walker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University, where he was also student government association president, and a Masters degree in History from the University of California, Riverside. He is also an Associate Professor of History San Bernardino Valley College.

In addition to Dr. Walker's inspirational words, the program will include two senior addresses. Ms. D'Ixara Batani-Khalfani who is graduating with a B.A. in Economics Administration/Marketing, will open the graduation and closing the ceremony with her address will be Ms. Antoinette Smith, a senior graduating with a B.S. in Biological Science. Following the senior addresses will be a tribute in memory of the late LaTosha K. Wallace, a student who would have been graduating from UC Riverside this year with a degree in Sociology/Administrative Studies.

There are also awards being presented to two students who have excelled academically as well as in their personal lives. These awards are the Zeanissia Moore Awards and the J.W. Vines Foundation Award. There will also be an award presented for an outstanding faculty member chosen by the students. Graduating students will be presented with a Kente stole that were hand woven in Ghana.

Event parking is $5.00 in Parking Lot 24. For more information, please contact African Student Programs at (951) 827-4574. 

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