2019 Kente Celebration & Rainbow Ceremony

May 3, 2019


At the annual Kente Celebration and Rainbow Ceremony, graduating students, supported by many of their peers, faculty, and staff, came together in unity and celebration as they prepare for Commencement and life after college. As the photos show, the special occasion was marked by joy, friendship, solidarity,  and accomplishment. Held during the last week of the spring semester, the event honors our graduates who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and other unrepresented sexualities, gender identities & gender expressions for our Rainbow Ceremony.  We also honor our graduates who identify Black, African-American, Latinx/a/o, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, bi & multiracial, and other marginalized racial identities as part of our Kente Celebration. 

Kente Cloths

During the celebration, students of color received Kente cloths. The Kente cloth, originating from Ghana, is a fabric that contains interwoven strips with colors that symbolize values or achievements: 

  • Green symbolizes growth and vitality;
  • Red for the bloodshed by ancestors;
  • Gold to represent rich minerals, and wealth, and 
  • Black for spiritual maturity.  
  • The asante stool represents leadership.

The cloth is royal and reserved for times of great importance.

Rainbow Tassels

Rainbow tassels were presented to graduates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other underrepresented gender identities and expressions and sexualities.  The rainbow tassel is a symbol of recognition and an affirmation of persistence and resilience. The colors of the tassel represent those in the rainbow flag: 

  • Red symbolizing life;
  • Orange for healing ;
  • Yellow for sunlight ;
  • Green for nature;
  • Blue for serenity and harmony; and
  • Violet for spirit.