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Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center

Programs and Events

Contact Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center  

Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center

Sykes Student Union, Room 003
West Chester, PA 19382

Phone: (610)-436-3273

M-F 8:00am - 4:30pm

Programs & Events

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picture of graduates

The Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center Kente Ceremony is an event which recognizes, acknowledges, emphasizes, and celebrates the educational achievement of multicultural graduates through a heritage tradition.

History of the Kente Commencement Ceremony at West Chester University

In the fall of 1992, the former Director of Affirmative Action, Dr. Franklin Simpson and Jerome "Skip" Hutson, Director of Minority Affairs met to discuss the development of a program to honor and celebrate the achievements of multicultural students who would be graduating from West Chester University in May, 1993. As a result of this and other meetings with Dr. Christian Awuyah and Dr. C. James Trotman, the idea of a Kente Commencement Ceremony was born. The first ceremony was held on Saturday, May 15th, 1993 at the Newman Center after the University commencement exercises. Thirty graduating students participated in the program and received their kente stoles.

picture of graduates

As the annual spring ceremony grew, it moved from the Newman Center, to the Sykes Student Union Theater, to the Ballrooms, and finally to its present location, the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall. Now held the evening or afternoon before the University Commencement, the ceremony has grown to include more than 100 graduates at the end-of-the year celebration. In 1996, a December ceremony was added to accommodate and honor those mid-year graduates.

That very first ceremony was entitled A Family Affair and that theme has persisted throughout the years. During past programs, family members and friends of the graduates have had an opportunity to honor the students and present them their kente stoles. Our graduates have also used the occasion to acknowledge and thank those who have helped and supported them along the way. Now recognized as a "True West Chester University Tradition", the ceremony continues to motivate and inspire younger students.

To date, more than 1600 WCU graduates have participated in the Kente Commencement Ceremony and have proudly worn their stoles while receiving their degrees at the University Commencement.


**The dealine to register for the Kente Commencement Ceremony has been extended until Friday April 20, 2018. Only students who have registered by this date are guaranteed to receive a kente stole. If you have been cleared for graduation by the Registrar's office, please fill out the registration form below. 

Registration Form

Congratulations to the West Chester University Class of 2018! 

We are proud to welcome you, your family and friends to a day of celebration
to recognize all you have accomplished. #WCUgraduation

Kente Commencement Ceremony

Friday, May 11, 2018

7:00 p.m.

Hollinger Fieldhouse

Graduating Students Check-in, Assembly, and Procession

  • Bring your graduation gown and hood. Please do not bring your graduation cap.
  • Family and friends should go to Hollinger Fieldhouse. Doors will open at 5:30 P.M.
  • Check-in and receive your Name Card at the appropriate table (Tables will be in alphabetical order).
  • Volunteers will be in Ehinger Gymnasium to assist with hooding.
  • When announced follow the directions provided, line up and follow the procession to Hollinger Fieldhouse. You must have your Name Card with you.

Note to graduating students:You will NOT be able to leave items behind in Ehinger during the ceremony.   


May & August Graduates

The Spring Kente Commencement Ceremony is for May and August and Philadelphia campus graduates who have received graduation confirmation from the Registrar’s Office.

May & August Graduates who have received graduation confirmation from the Registrar’s Office are invited to participate in the Spring Kente Commencement Ceremony.


List of Graduates:
This page currently holds the lists of undergraduate students who have registered as of today for the May 11, 2018 Spring Kente Commencement Ceremony. 

If your name is not listed, please do the following:

  1. Check with the Registrar’s Office to verify that you have been confirmed for Graduation.
  2. Once confirmation is received from the Registrar’s Office, complete the Kente Commencement registration form. Please do not submit duplicate forms.
  3. If you have already completed steps 1 and 2 and your name is not listed, please call our office at (610) 436-3273.

This list will not be updated after April 20, 2018 and late applicants will not be included in the Kente Commencement Ceremony program.

 Kente Registrants May 2018

Kente Stoles

Each graduate who participates in the Kente Commencement Ceremony will receive a Kente stole. As graduate’s names are announced during the ceremony, they will walk across the stage and a Kente stole will be placed around the graduate’s neck by a Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center (LDMC) staff member.



If you are unable to attend the Kente Commencement Ceremony but would still like to receive your Kente stole, you may pick it up in the LDMC during the following days and times:

May 7th – May 10th

9:00am – 4:00pm

Kente stoles will not be distributed before May 7th or on the day of the Kente Commencement Ceremony, May 11, 2018.


Tickets and Guests

There are no tickets required for this ceremony, however, it recommended that you bring no more than five (5) guests. Seating is not guaranteed beyond the recommended number of guests.


Parking & Directions

Students and their guests are strongly encouraged to park in the following places:

D lot: (Front of Lawrence Center)
Lawrence Center
705 S. New Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Lot A: Sharpless Parking Garage

(Northeast corner of Sharpless Street and South Church Street)15 Sharpless StreetWest Chester, PA 19382

New Street Parking Garage

(Southwest corner of South New Street and West Nields Street)

704 South New Street

West Chester, PA 19383

WCU Parking Maps

Accessible Parking

Accessible parking will be very limited and will be on a first-come basis. Spectators who need assistance will be allowed to be dropped off at the main entrance to Hollinger Fieldhouse. One (1) family member will be allowed to accompany one person to the special seating area located in Hollinger Fieldhouse. No exceptions will be made.



During the ceremony, guests may only take photographs from their seats. To provide the best opportunity for a quality photograph to document the occasion, a professional photographer will be on stage during the commencement ceremony to take a picture of each graduate as he/she receives the Kente stole.

Not only will graduating students have the best possible photograph of their accomplishment, their guests will be able to remain seated without the worry of getting close to the stage to "capture the moment."

Legacy Photographics, Inc. will contact each graduate via your student email address (provided by the Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center) after the ceremony with information on how to purchase photos. If you have any questions, please contact Legacy at 1-800-447-2550 or 610-279-1791.



General Ceremony Etiquette

The Lawrence A. Dowdy Multicultural Center understands that this is a time for excitement and celebration. To maximize this amazing experience for everyone, students, their families and friends must be mindful, and their families should be mindful that by tradition, the Kente Commencement Ceremony is a formal, dignified event to honor the academic achievement of scholars. To help preserve the decorum of the event, it is requested that you exercise etiquette appropriate to the occasion. Please observe the following:


Alcohol Policy

In accordance with University policy, alcoholic beverages are forbidden on University property. In addition, if any student is deemed to have consumed alcohol, or an illegal, controlled substance prior to the ceremony, that student will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony.

Mobile Devices and Cell Phones

Please exercise discretion when using cell phones and smartphone devices during the ceremony. All mobile devices should be silenced. We ask that you please turn off the volume of your devices when the Kente procession starts. If taking pictures or using social media, please be mindful of those around you. Student cell phone/smartphone use on the platform when receiving diplomas is restricted. When sharing your #WCUgraduation experience, please refrain from mobile usage on the stage/platform (e.g., selfies, videos). Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

During the ceremony, guests may take photographs only from their seats. As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, please do not leave your seats or engage in lengthy conversation with others during the ceremony. All graduates are requested to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.

Pets are not permitted in Hollinger Field House or Ehinger Gymnasium except service dogs. Emotional support animals are not permitted.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our office at (610) 436-3273.

Other Events:

  • Annual Multicultural Student Leadership Conference
  • Diversity Day
  • Black History Month
  • Martin Luther King Luncheon
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Native American Heritage Month
  • Asia Appreciation Month
  • Women of Color Day Celebration
  • Mentoring Welcome Reception
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