Clothed in Honor
The 14th annual Kente Cloth Brunch took place in the ballroom of the Adrian Rondileau Campus Center with an audience of hundreds on hand to salute
approximately 70 undergraduate and graduate students of color for their academic achievements.
Natara Gray, office manager for BSU’s Center for Multicultural Studies, served as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which included the presentation of achievement awards to students of color who have earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher, and the awarding of Kente Cloth stoles to those preparing to graduate.
President Dana Mohler-Faria opened the program with welcoming remarks in which he expressed “enormous pride in the accomplishments of these outstanding men and women,” adding, “I have every confidence that each of you will enjoy successful careers, that you will contribute substantially to society and that you will, through your lifelong hard work and dedication, be a credit to your families, your communities and your alma mater.”
Among the major award recipients was Taqueia Archie, a senior majoring in social work and minoring in criminal justice, who was presented with the Nguzo Saba Award for student achievement and community service by Richardson Pierre-Louis, resident director of East Hall. “I know this young woman well because she is a resident assistant in East Hall and I know how reliable, trustworthy and accomplished she is,” said Mr. Pierre-Louis. “She is truly a remarkable person.”
Ms. Archie, who is the treasurer of the Sister Scholars organization at BSU, is also involved in the LINKS Program, Linking Individuals to Networks, Knowledge and Scholarship, a voluntary mentoring and retention program for first-year students of color to assist them in developing a support system to succeed in their first year at BSU and beyond. She has completed her senior work at a Department of Youth Services detention center and aspires to be a social worker with the goal of helping rehabilitate juvenile offenders to make positive transitions into adulthood.
The program also featured remarks, billed as "student reflections," from several student leaders, including Joseph Bogle, a senior majoring in sociology with a concentration in education and minoring in psychology and social welfare. Mr. Bogle is a vice president of the BSU organization “Men Integrated in Brotherhood” and is involved in the LINKS mentoring program. Also, Rashid Murillo, a graduate student from Belize who is earning his master’s degree in early childhood education, shared memories of his time at Bridgewater as did Francisca Moliere, member of the class of 2013 and president of the university’s Afro-American organization.
Other speakers included Shenaya Martin, '13, and Shalika Smith, '06, secretary of the Afro-Am Alumni Association. Student achievement awards were presented by Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, and Dr. Cathy Holbrook, associate vice president of student affairs. Ms. Gray conducted the Kente Cloth ceremony, assisted by more than a dozen members of the Afro-American Alumni Association. Music for the event was performed by Dr. Robert McManus, assistant professor and pre-practicum coordinator in the College of Education and Allied Studies. Reverend Chang-Hee Son delivered the benediction.
The annual program is sponsored jointly by the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the College of Graduate Studies and the Afro-American Alumni Association. (Story and photos by David K. Wilson, ’71, Office of University Advancement)