Vassar Quarterly - Spring/Summer 2017 - 11
On the Saturday before Commencement, several affinity groups
celebrated their graduates with culturally resonant ceremonies.
27th Council of Black Seniors
Guest speaker Crissle West, a media personality and writer (below,
right), offered graduating seniors advice on navigating their professional and personal lives post-graduation. "When I look back over the
past decade of my life, I see a lot of struggle and heartache and days
that I had to collect coins from the bottom of my glove compartment
to scrape up enough money to find dinner," she told the graduates.
"And now that I'm on the other side of that mountain, I see how every
last one of those days I spent hurting and miserable led me to being
right here." Awards presented at the Baccalaureate Service included
the Class of 1991 Alumnae/i Award, given to Tracy Poole '82 (below,
left), who discussed the importance of giving back to Vassar, particularly through mentoring current students and recent graduates.
Asian Pacific Graduation
At the Asian Pacific Alumnae/i of Vassar College Graduation Celebration, led by Lisa Flores '82, seniors were
presented with red satin stoles to wear at Commencement,
breaking from the tradition of giving flower leis for the
first time. Flores noted the unique experiences of Asian
Pacific students and praised the students who, "in true
Vassar fashion," questioned whether the lei's symbolism
was broad enough to encompass the various cultures
that make up the group.
Stockton Photo, Inc.
Kente Cloth Ceremony
The African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College
(AAAVC) Kente Cloth Ceremony featured a performance
by the musical group UJIMA and speeches by Ken Miles
'07 and Dr. Claudia Thomas '71. Thomas talked about the
positive changes brought to Vassar by members of AAAVC,
including the creation of the Africana Studies Program,
and encouraged graduates to challenge the status quo.
VA S S A R Q u A R T E R LY