Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell will present the keynote address at the 10th annual University of California, Riverside Black Graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 2 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center.
“Black Graduation is a celebration, an opportunity for students to personalize this milestone in their academic career,” said Ken Simons, director of African Student Programs at UCR, which sponsors the event. “It is a way that they can share their accomplishment with all the members who make up ‘their village’ in an intimate setting.”
Simons said that more than 130 students are expected to participate in the event, which was first held in 1999 before going on hiatus until 2003. In addition to celebrating the students’ academic achievements, the event will also commemorate African Student Programs’ 40th anniversary this year.
“Black Graduation is not an ‘alternative’ ceremony in that students who participate are encouraged to experience the pageantry of commencement by participating in the regular ceremonies as well,” Simons said. “One advantage for graduates and their families is that with our large venue and smaller number of graduates, there is no limit to the number of guests each student can invite. We understand that teachers, coaches, mentors, preachers, faculty, staff, alumni, relatives and community members all have played a vital role in the success of these young scholars and we are happy to be able to provide a place for them to celebrate together.”
Mitchell, who represents the 47th Assembly District in Los Angeles, was elected in November 2010. She chairs the assembly’s Budget Sub-Committee on Health & Human Services, and is a member of the Committees on Accountability & Administrative Review, Appropriations, Budget, Health, and Public Safety.
In addition to Mitchell, other scheduled speakers include UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs James W. Sandoval. Former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Butch Johnson (’76) will present the alumni address and mechanical engineering student Christopher Webb and psychology student Nwabueze Anyanwu will present the senior addresses.
A pair of UCR student groups, The God’s Revelation Gospel Choir and the Nigerian Student Association Dance group, will also perform.
The program also features the presentation three annual awards presentations. They are:
The James Wesley Vines Society Award, presented to the outstanding graduating senior active in mentorship and improving educational opportunities for African-American students seeking careers in the medical and health science fields.
The Nathan Alex Irvin Award, presented by African Student Programs to a graduating senior who possesses outstanding character, scholastic achievement, and leadership qualities with an emphasis on uplifting Black communities, both on- and off-campus.
The Zeanissia Moore Award, presented to an African/African-American woman who has overcome many challenges during her undergraduate career.
Black Graduation is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the African Student Programs website or e-mail