See Photos From the 2024 Black Student Graduation

Photo: Phil Stein.

The Black Student Union was very grateful and excited to host the Black Student Graduation alongside CUNY SPS Student Life. The graduation began with a reception where graduates, family, friends, staff and faculty had amazing food and great conversation amongst each other. Afterwards everyone was invited into the main room for the graduation ceremony. Filled with enthusiasm and pride, Shanice Drakes and Kimberly Sparkes, the Administrative Co-hairs of the BSU, began the ceremony with welcome remarks while Student Life Club and Organization Coordinator Parshotam Lal controlled the PowerPoint presentation.

Sparkes welcomed our first speaker, Dean Braverman, which was followed by a recorded video from Diana Haynes, former President of the HRLSC and member of UMS, who spoke about what Black excellence means to her and was filled with many laughs and nods of understanding from the audience. The next speaker was Sonja Prophete, university director of graduate enrollment at CUNY. She delivered a meaningful speech that spoke to many in the audience. Afterwards Heaven Lee Searles, BSU media and marketing chair, played a recorded video where she discussed what it means to be a Black graduate. Then our very own Celeste Clark, director of campus operations at CUNY SPS, spoke about her experience as a Black woman at CUNY as the keynote speaker. This heartfelt speech also resonated with many people in the audience. The third recorded video played where myself, Amarna Williams, BSU meetings and programming chair, spoke about my current career and post-grad career goals. Professor James Robinson introduced the student keynote speaker Genesis Fernandez. She spoke about her life until this point, showing resilience, courage and determination to reach her goals. Following this, the slide of graduates played.

The Black Student Graduation was a beautiful ceremony where Black excellence was celebrated and recognized! We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen and to the speakers whose speeches we will never forget.

Photo: Phil Stein.
Photo: Phil Stein.
CUNY University Director of Graduate Enrollment Sonja Prophete. Photo: Phil Stein.
Student keynote speaker Genesis Fernandez. Photo: Phil Stein.
Communication and Media Program Academic Director James Richardson. Photo: Phil Stein.

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