The Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers held a joint virtual cultural graduation celebration on May 14, celebrating graduating students with the inclusion of traditions and practices from the six traditional cultural graduation celebrations.
The theme of the program was “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” based on a 1989 poem by Tupac Shakur released after his death in 1996. More than a theme, the poem’s words served as the basis for student keynote speakers from a variety of cultural backgrounds – each sharing their own experiences navigating college through their own unique and personal lens and identity.
The graduating keynote speakers that were recognized included:
- Curtis Carpenter Jr. (M.S. Information Security)
- Smirah Khan (B.A., English Literacy Studies)
- Sarah Alpuche (B.A., Geology)
- Wildflower Robles-Ontiveros (B.A., English Education)
- Byron Lee (B.S., Hospitality Management)
- Adriana Gonzalez (B.A., Spanish)
In addition to the traditional reading of names, staff members offered words of encouragement and solidarity for those graduating.
“You are each unique roses whose seeds were planted in your own community, but cultivated as scholars, activists, and leaders in your experiences at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Tari Hunter, director of the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers.
“As your educational journey concludes, may your knowledge and power be translated through your words, degrees and most importantly, your actions,” added Hunter.
The traditional cultural graduation ceremonies are among the most celebrated events at Cal Poly Pomona at the conclusion of each academic year, and are typically held in person, each with their own traditions.
“Cultural graduations are so important – it gives us a chance to interact with one another, family and friends in a setting where we can simply celebrate who we are in our many different places and acknowledge that diversity is there,” said Christina Gonzales, Vice President for Student Affairs.