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Local student Kimberly Daley paticipates in Donning of the Kente ceremony to kick off EMU's 100th Commencement celebration

HARRISONBURG, VA (04/23/2018)-- Thirty-three seniors and graduate students participated in Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 14.16.26Wednesday's Donning of the Kente ceremony at Eastern Mennonite University. Each graduate received a special stole of their choice, symbolizing their heritage and roots, to wear at the May 6 Commencement ceremony.

Kimberly Daley (Willingboro, NJ) participated in the Kente ceremony. Kimberly Daley is graduating with a degree in nursing. Marcia Pusey, instructor of nursing, presented her stole. Her goal is to be debt-free within three years.

"The question is, what have you learned, and what traditions has Eastern Mennonite University imprinted on you?" asked Professor David Owusu-Ansah of soon-to-be-graduates at Eastern Mennonite University's third annual Donning of the Kente ceremony in Martin Chapel.

"Do you know what an EMU graduate should do and be when you are no longer on campus? Think of these things, of the people who invested in you because they believed in you. Be a very good ambassador," he urged.

Though many of students present perhaps thought beyond impending finals to consider their future plans, the ceremony was the first time to put on their caps and gowns and the first inkling of the celebration to come. During the May 6 Commencement ceremony, each of the 33 will wear a special stole, some made of kente cloth but others of satin fabric symbolizing heritage, roots within one or various communities, or citizenship.

Professor David Owusu-Ansah, professor of history at James Madison University, encouraged graduates to think and act as ambassadors of their alma mater. He teaches an African history course every two years at EMU.

The formal presentation of these stoles was the reason for coming together with family, friends and EMU community members Wednesday evening. The ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of graduating students of color as well as the history of black students' and students of color achievements at the university, according to Multicultural Student Services Director Celeste Thomas , who started the first event three years ago.

Micah Shristi , co-director of international student services and advisor to the International Student Organization, and M. Esther Showalter , advisor to the Latino Student Alliance, also co-hosted the event.

A leader among faith-based, liberal arts universities since 1917, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) emphasizes peacebuilding, sustainability, service to others, and social justice to students of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. On the main campus in Harrisonburg, VA; at the Lancaster, PA campus; and online, EMU educates undergraduate, graduate, professional and seminary students to serve and lead in a global context. The EMU experience challenges students to pursue their life calling through scholarly inquiry, artistic creation, guided practice, and life-changing cross-cultural encounter.