The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at West Virginia Wesleyan College celebrated 31 students at a multicultural graduation celebration today in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for The Performing Arts. The ceremony recognized students who are members of: PRISM – the queer-straight alliance – who received rainbow cords; members of the Black Student Union who received Kente Cloth; and international students and members of the International Student Organization who received International Flag Stoles.
“The multicultural graduation is an opportunity for West Virginia Wesleyan College to recognize the importance of diversity within our campus community,” said Dr. Dedriell Taylor, WVWC’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “It is an opportunity for us to highlight and commemorate the accomplishments and achievements of our students. It is also a time to honor the heritages, histories and voices of our students that individually and collectively shape West Virginia Wesleyan College.”
Rainbow cords were presented to LGBTQIA+ students and allies as an acknowledgement of their achievements and contributions to Wesleyan.
Receiving rainbow cords were: Jacob Estep ’21, of Morgantown, West Virginia; Cat Saporito ’21, of Philippi, West Virginia; Siobhan Settle ’21, of Dunbar, West Virginia; and Sinead Tobin ’21, of Fairmont, West Virginia.
The Kente Cloth is believed to originate from the Ashanti people of West Africa.
“The weave design in the Kente Cloth that our 2021 graduates will receive is reflective of resiliency and strength and originates from the babadua (pattern),” Taylor said. “The ‘kente strip’ also contains Akan symbols, which can be translated as, ‘he is sitting on the stool of the ancestors.’”
Graduates receiving Kente Cloth were John Batiest ’21, of Chicago, Illinois; Drey Burciaga ’21, of Weston, West Virginia; Jerren Carter ’21, of Smyrna, Delaware; Nathan Chepkoit ’21, of Damascus, Maryland; Tre Gulley ’21, of Pleasanton, California; Summer Matlack ’21, of Arlington, Virginia; Renard Matthews ’21, of Blackshear, Georgia; Michael McAlpine ’21, of Brooklyn, New York; Marcus Newton ’21, of Randallstown, Maryland; Peter Ofori-Nuamah ’21, of Silver Spring, Maryland; William Rosado ’21, of Deltona, Florida; Jimmesha Brothers Vega ’21, of Brooklyn, New York; and Garric (Ross) Young ’21, of Cheverly, Maryland.
International Flag Stoles are designed to resemble the national flag of the student’s country.
“The stole is a formal demonstration of the students’ academic achievements and group affiliation with the International Student Organization,” Taylor said. “The stole allows us to honor the important contributions that international students make to our campus community and our pride in Wesleyan’s global campus community.
International Flag Stoles went to Arthur Assfeld ’21, of Toul, France; Carlos Dodero Fernandez ‘21, of Madrid, Spain; Sumire Ebioka ’21, of Shizwoka, Japan; Yeon Tak Kim ’21, of Republic of Korea; Kay Lange ’21, of Hanover, Germany; Rodrico Michael ’21, of Coxias do Sul, Brazil; Trisanya Mitchell ’21, of St. Catharine, Jamaica; Mikel Mugarza Pascual ’21, of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Andrew Polychroniadis ’21, of Athens, Greece; Anna Puigvert-Juan ’20, of Banyoles, Spain; Carlos Javier Mora Sanchez ’21, of Leganes, Spain; Revans Shah ’21, of Vadodara, India; Charalampos (Harry) Simaioforidis ’21, of Athens, Greece; and Kazuma Takagi ’21, of Toyoko, Japan.