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Cultural Achievement Ceremonies

Family, friends, and members of the University and surrounding community attend the Lavender Cultural Achievement Ceremony in the Graduate Life Center auditorium.

Family, friends, and members of the University and surrounding community attend the Lavender Cultural Achievement Ceremony in the Graduate Life Center auditorium.
Family, friends, and members of the University and surrounding community attend the Lavender Cultural Achievement Ceremony in the Graduate Life Center auditorium. Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Graduations cords with Recovery Community at VT coin

Graduations cords with Recovery Community at VT coin

Virginia Tech is honored to host ten cultural achievement ceremonies and receptions for our community members. Descriptions and details are below. These ten receptions/ceremonies are for students who graduate in the spring. Donning of the Kente is held for winter graduates as well.

Graduating students who wish to participate must register and may register for as many events as you would like.

Family, friends, and members of the University and surrounding community attend the Lavender Cultural Achievement Ceremony in the Graduate Life Center auditorium.

Family, friends, and members of the University and surrounding community attend the Lavender Cultural Achievement Ceremony in the Graduate Life Center auditorium.

Aliyah

Thursday, May 14 @ 10:30 a.m.

Aliyah is a celebration of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students at Virginia Tech organized by the Jewish Student Union (JSU). The ceremony recognizes students for their hard work and dedication to the Jewish community and has historically featured a speaker from campus. Students receive a blue and white cord that they can choose to wear during University commencement ceremonies.

This May, recognition of graduating students will be posted on the Jewish Student Union Facebook page.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their cord via mail this summer.

American Indian and Indigenous

Wednesday, May 13 @ 3 p.m.

The American Indian and Indigenous ceremony was founded by Native student leaders in 2017 as a way to incorporate Native culture into graduation, as well as to celebrate the accomplishment of Native students. The ceremony has grown steadily since its beginning. At the ceremony, students will receive stoles for their cultural background and achievements and receive support and recognition from family, friends, alumni, and faculty/staff within the American Indian and Indigenous community at Virginia Tech.

This May, students will be celebrated via photo and video submissions and shared on the AIICC Facebook page.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their stole via mail this summer.

Asian American

Wednesday, May 13 @ 1:30 p.m.

This growing event celebrates the accomplishments of Asian American undergraduate and graduate students, with more than 50 students in attendance. Participating students receive a commemorative cord, which can be worn with their academic regalia, and are invited to celebrate their culture and academic achievement at Virginia Tech.

This May, students will be celebrated via photo and video submissions and shared on the ACEC Facebook page.

Recognition will also be posted to the Asian Cultural Engagement Center’s Youtube channel.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their stole via mail this summer.

Donning of the Kente

Thursday, May 14 @ 9:30 a.m.

The first Cultural Achievement Ceremony at Virginia Tech, the Donning of the Kente began in 2013 as a celebration of African American heritage. It has continued to grow, with 250 students in attendance in 2019. The ceremony outside of Tech has a rich history, with the American tradition dating back to the 20th century, and the Kente cloth dating back centuries. At this ceremony, students adorn the Ghanaian Kente cloth graduation robe and gather with family, friends, and colleagues to celebrate undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Graduates will also receive stoles, which can be worn at the University’s commencement ceremony.

This May, students will be celebrated via photo and video submissions and shared on the BCC Facebook page.

You can also find recognition of students posted on the BCC’s Instagram.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their stole via mail this summer.

First Generation

The First-Generation Recognition Ceremony was founded in 2020 as a way to provide first-generation graduates with a positive and rewarding experience. The ceremony recognizes both undergraduate and graduate first-generation students for their hard work and dedication. During the ceremony, each graduate can have one (1) family member, friend, mentor or faculty/staff member join them to acknowledge their achievements and adorn them with their first-generation chord.

In May, first-generation graduates will be celebrated via a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram called #VTFirstGenGraduate. Students who wish to submit their information can do so at firstgen@vt.edu. Posts will begin on May 4 and will be ongoing. Cords will be provided in the fall.

Gesta Latina

Thursday, May 14 @ 11:30 a.m.

The Virginia Tech Gesta Latina, a Hispanic-Latino achievement ceremony, has been an annual tradition since 2005. Gesta (which has the same meaning in Latin and Spanish) means deeds or accomplishments. The ceremony, founded by Dr. Antonio Fernandez Vazquez, celebrates Latinx graduates and the community at Tech. Each year, one student is recognized with an award in Dr. Fernandez’ honor, which recognizes their significant contributions and outstanding service to the mission of El Centro. Participating students receive a commemorative stole, which can be worn with their academic regalia.

This May, students will be celebrated via photo and video submissions and shared on El Centro’s Facebook page.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their stole via mail this summer.

International

Wednesday, May 13 @ 7 p.m.

The International Student Achievement Ceremony is a celebration of the international student community at Virginia Tech. Cranwell International Center organizes the ceremony, which recognizes the hard work and accomplishments of international students in pursuit of their degree. The ceremony traditionally features speakers representing the undergraduate and graduate students as well as a keynote speaker with a demonstrated commitment to international understanding.

This May, graduation students will be recognized through Cranwell International Center's social media channels.

Lavender

Wednesday, May 13 @ 4 p.m.

The annual Lavender Commencement Ceremony celebrates LGBTQ+ Virginia Tech graduates. The original ceremony, which began in 2009, featured 5 students and has grown to include more than 70 students in recent years. With great joy, the sponsoring organizations (the LGBT Faculty and Staff Caucus, HokiePRIDE, and Queer Grads, Professionals, & Allies) welcome family, friends, faculty, staff, students, and the community to celebrate this special occasion. Awards are given at the ceremony, and attendees are presented with a rainbow cord to wear during University and college ceremonies.

This May, achievements for LGBTQ+ students will be celebrated via a video that will be shared on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center Facebook page and Instagram.

Students who wish to be included in the video and/or receive their rainbow cords can still complete the online registration form.

Students will receive their cords via mail this summer.

Muslim

Wednesday, May 13 @ 5:30 p.m.

This May, in place of a traditional ceremony, participating Muslim undergraduate and graduate slated to graduate this year will receive a digital yearbook that highlights their memories and photos. Students who wish to participate in this yearbook can submit their information and photos to Muslim Student Union advisor, Benito Nieves, at bnieves@vt.edu.

Recovery

Thursday, May 14 @ 11 a.m.

  • Ceremony: Hahn Gardens or The Wesley
  • Reception: Hahn Gardens or The Wesley

The Recovery Community at Virginia Tech was founded in the spring of 2016 with a grant from Transforming Youth Recovery. This group exists because higher education can be a very challenging place for students in recovery. Graduating attendees will receive a purple cord to wear at University commencement ceremonies, as purple is the traditional color of recovery. The recovery ceremony aims to create an atmosphere that isn’t just substance free, but actively engages students in practical ways to stay healthy, and promotes support for students in recovery to achieve their goals.

Veterans

May 14 @ 10 a.m.

This event is held in order to celebrate the academic accomplishments of our student veterans. Those completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees will receive a military branch specific stole, acknowledging the completion of their coursework and to signify our appreciation for their service to our country.

This May, students will be celebrated via photo and video submissions and shared on the Virginia Tech’s Office of Veteran Services webpage.

Posts will begin no later than May 14 and will be ongoing. Students will also receive their stole via mail this summer.