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Spokane Celebrates Local African American Graduates April 22 at Gonzaga

21st African American_Graduation image

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh will deliver the official welcome to the 21st African American Spokane Community Graduation Celebration at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 22 in Gonzaga’s Hemmingson Center Ballroom. This marks the 12th year Gonzaga has sponsored and hosted the celebration.

The pre-commencement celebration began as a grassroots effort created by African American community leaders to reinforce the importance of scholarship and a sense of community and to recognize the academic achievement of our black youth who have successfully completed their studies at high schools, colleges, and universities.

The public is welcome to join in this celebration of unity, new beginning, and learning from the past.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Young, Gifted, and Black.” To help celebrate their accomplishment, Jeremey Williams, senior vice president and market manager for Bank of America, will deliver the keynote address. Williams earned a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, where he also played football.  In his role, Williams delivers the bank’s corporate social responsibility commitment to suburban and community markets in the West by identifying, building, and maintaining community partnerships.

The celebration continues to focus on African and African American heritage, and aims to inspire black students to reach their utmost potential. As part of the ceremony, each graduate receives a Kente cloth (also referred to as a Kente stole). The Kente cloth is indigenous to the Akan people of West Africa, specifically the Ashante people of Ghana, and is rich in texture and design. It is a symbol of the royal African past, and in ceremonies represents pride in one’s heritage.

A reception will follow the ceremony. Free parking is available in the Boone Avenue Retail Center (1101 N. Hamilton St.). For more information, please contact Raymond Reyes, Gonzaga’s associate academic vice president and chief diversity officer, at (509) 313-6550 or

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