The Kente program was initiated at Siena Heights in 1992 by members of the main campus student group SHAAKA, the Siena Heights African American Knowledge Association. Those African American students, now alumni, established the ceremony to honor their heritage, recognize the challenges of pursuing and completing a college education, and motivate undergraduates of color to persist in their studies through to graduation.
The Kente ceremony will take place Saturday, May 1 at 10 a.m. in O’Laughlin Stadium on the SHU main campus in Adrian, MI.
Kente stoles are woven in Ghana, where Kente cloth was originally the cloth of kings and queens. The stoles represent the pride of perseverance, the honor of accomplishment, and the importance of remembering your roots. Today’s bachelor’s degree (blue) stoles are embroidered with the ram’s horn, symbolizing humility and strength, wisdom and learning. The master’s degree (black) stoles carry the symbol of lifelong learning and the continued quest for knowledge.
The goals of the Kente program are the same today, but the program now embraces and recognizes Hispanic/Latino graduates in addition to graduates of African descent from all SHU sites and programs.
Hispanic/Latino graduates receive Serapes that mirror the undergraduate and graduate colors. SHU students began receiving Serapes from the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan in 2017 at a statewide celebration. The print on the serapes reflects Indigenous cultural roots of Latin America.
To register for this year’s ceremony, please complete the form to the right.
Kente Ceremony registration is currently closed for submissions.