Kente Ceremony

Kente Ceremony

2024 Donning of the Kente Graduation Ceremony Information



Graduation day will undoubtedly be one of the best days in your family's life. But how about transforming it into one of the most memorable experiences?

The most appropriate way to celebrate the success of our University of Virginia students is to honor our graduating Class of 2024. The Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) is excited to invite you to our annual "Donning of the Kente Ceremony," where we will recognize all graduating undergraduate students.



The rich tapestry of Kente cloth carries a profound history that traces its origins back to 12th-century Africa, specifically in the vibrant country of Ghana. Originally reserved for Kings, Queens, and esteemed figures of state, Kente adorned individuals during ceremonial events and special occasions, marking moments of significance in Ghanaian society.

In its cultural essence, Kente surpasses the mere classification of cloth; it is a visual representation of a multifaceted heritage. Symbolizing history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, religious beliefs, political thought, and aesthetic principles, Kente encapsulates the essence of a community's identity. For African-Americans today, wearing Kente cloth transcends a mere fashion statement. It serves as a source of inspiration, a medium to honor, celebrate, connect, and reflect upon our shared heritage and communal struggles and successes. Each intricate pattern weaves a narrative of resilience, pride, and unity.

At the University of Virginia, the Donning of the Kente was established in the Spring of 2005 as part of the Black Leadership Institute’s (now Black President’s Council) commitment to create cohesion among Black students and recognize the work of Black student leaders.

The ceremony was first held in the Chemistry Building auditorium and after years of growth and increased attendance, now takes place in Old Cabell Hall. Each year, we celebrate the legacy of Black excellence at the University by honoring the academic achievements of our graduating students and recognizing their significant contributions to the UVA community.

We also utilize the ceremony to acknowledge and thank the parents, faculty, and staff who have helped make all of the accomplishments possible. Graduating students receive stoles made of Kente cloth imported from West Africa. 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.