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April 28, 2010
By Skyler Dillon
The University of Nevada, Reno will host several multicultural graduation celebrations in the coming weeks. Latino, African-American and Native American students will each have a special ceremony in addition to the University commencements May 14 and 15.
The Latino Convocation, scheduled for 6 p.m. April 30, is in its eighth year. Alternately hosted by Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) and the University, the convocation will be at Lawlor Events Center this year and will honor graduating Latino students from Nevada, TMCC and local high schools. The goal is to encourage Latino high school students to pursue a college education.
“We want students to know how important it is,” said Araceli Martinez, program coordinator for the University’s Center for Student Cultural Diversity. “And we want to show them that it’s possible for everyone.”
The invited students are allowed to bring unlimited family members to the event, which is open to the public and will be presented in both Spanish and English, to inspire younger siblings to pursue their own educational goals. Carla Franich, a program officer with the University Student Success Services, hopes the students are proud of their achievements.
“It’s a very prestigious accomplishment,” she said of graduation. “This is a big opportunity for everyone in the community to take part and celebrate.”
Guest speaker and University senior Cesar Garibaldo, named one of the top 35 Latino business students in the nation last fall, will talk about the challenges minorities face in the education system and his experience overcoming them.
“I participated in the convocation when I graduated high school, and it made a difference to me,” he said. “I want to do the same for these other students—to let them know that it can happen, that help is out there.”
Alex Woodley of the City of Reno and Carolina Rodriguez of Nevada’s Office of Prospective Students will emcee the event, and Daniel Perez, an assistant professor of Chicano and Latino studies in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, will present certificates to graduating Nevada students.
“It’s going to be great recognition for the students,” Franich said. “Statistically, the population of Latino graduates is not very high compared to some other groups, and we want to encourage others to take on the amazing accomplishments of the students at the convocation.”
Local sponsors, including the Latino Education Foundation, will fund a reception following the ceremony that Nevada President Milt Glick, TMCC President Maria Sheehan and Washoe County School District superintendent Heath Morrison will attend.
The Center for Student Cultural Diversity will also celebrate Native American graduates with a ceremony in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom at 6 p.m., May 5, African-American graduates in the Student Union Theatre at 1 p.m., May 14, and Asian Pacific Islander graduates in Nightingale Hall at 1 p.m., May 14.