‘Bestowing of the Kente’ ceremony honors African American graduates

May 23, 2019

As part of a tradition that goes back nearly 25 years, Alverno College held its Bestowing of the Kente ceremony on Sunday, May 12, 2019. 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 grad- uate 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 includes 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 recognizes African American graduates with the Bestowing of the Kente ceremony separate from graduation.

In all, 25 women were honored at the Bestowing of the Kente ceremony.