University of Nevada, Reno hosts cultural graduate celebrations

Events complement the official degree-conferring commencement ceremonies and enhance the opportunity for families and friends to become involved

5/1/2014 - By: Nicole Shearer
The Center for Student Cultural Diversity at the University of Nevada, Reno will host five diversity graduate celebrations honoring student cultural groups on campus.

The University of Nevada, Reno plans to again celebrate five cultural graduate celebrations in honor of the many different students represented on campus. Organized through The Center for Student Cultural Diversity at the University, these celebrations are designed to recognize the culture students have brought with them to the University and shared during their time on campus.

Going into the fourth year, these celebrations complement rather than replace the traditional commencement ceremonies scheduled May 16 and 17. A 2013 Chronicle of Higher Education feature highlighted these University of Nevada, Reno events as leading a growing national trend on university campuses to celebrate the identities of various groups.

"We're all members of the Wolf Pack and we all participate and support one another in our endeavors," Chief Diversity Officer Reginald Stewart said. "The families and the communities are what help the University graduate these students. It's a way for us to honor the people who have invested in our graduates' success."

More than 200 students participate in these celebrations with an average of 600 people attending the five events. 

"As a student, having a cultural graduate celebration meant that I could celebrate my academic success in an intimate familial setting," Ricardo Salazar, 2011 University graduate and program coordinator for The Center for Student Cultural Diversity, said. "The celebration was a time to embrace my roots, enjoy the traditional foods and dance. In the Latino culture, educational attainment is and should be celebrated by a 'fiesta' and should be shared with those who helped you succeed (family, friends, professors, academic advisors, deans, program directors, administrative faculty, and even the custodians)." 

Below is a list of the celebrations by date:

American Indian/Alaska Native Graduate Celebration
6 p.m., Friday, May 2 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre

Latino Graduate Celebration
5:30 p.m., Friday, May 9 in the Joe Crowley Student Union, Milt Glick Ballrooms B & C

Asian American and Pacific Islander Graduate Celebration
5:30 p.m., Monday, May 12 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre

Lavender Graduate Celebration (LGBTQIA)
6 p.m., Tuesday, May 13 in the Church Fine Arts Sheppard Contemporary Art Gallery

Black Graduate Celebration
5:45 p.m. Thursday, May 15 in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center Auditorium
View video from last year's Black Graduate Celebration.

"It means a lot for us to have a graduation specifically for different cultures because it takes a lot for minorities to move away from home, and to adapt to other cultures; it isn't always easy," Chloe Kaeo, a community health sciences major and graduating senior, said. "It gives us a chance to come together away from stereotypes that we may have faced throughout the years. Personally, I am honored to be in the Asian American and Pacific Islander graduation ceremony because it's not very often that a Hawaiian student successfully graduates college in four years, so it has a huge impact on my life and it makes me feel like I have achieved something bigger and better than what I had originally planned for."


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