BLACK LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE OF THE OFFICE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN AFFAIRS
The Black Leadership Institute (BLI) convenes black student leaders for community development and leadership training. Its members are current leaders of predominately black student groups, as well as members of larger University organizations. The BLI mission is to provide resources that sustain communication, solidarity and cultural consciousness among black student leaders at the University.
DONNING OF THE KENTE CEREMONY
As part of the Black Leadership Institute’s commitment to create cohesion among black students and recognize the work of black student leaders, the Donning of the Kente was established in the Spring of 2005. The ceremony recognizes black graduating fourth-year students of the University of Virginia. During this ceremony, students receive stoles made of Kente cloth imported from West Africa. The Kente cloth’s intricate designs are a visual representation of the story, legacy and values of persons within the African Diaspora. The Kente cloth also symbolizes and celebrates prestige in many African societies. For black graduating students at the University, we hope that the Kente stole will represent a mark of distinction as they walk the Lawn and remember fondly their Final Exercises with great honor.