Donning of the Kente Annual Ceremony

On May 11, 2012 The College of William & Mary held its inaugural Donning of the Kente ceremony. The event, sponsored by the Lemon Project in conjunction with the Hulon Willis Alumni Association, honored more than forty students of color for their academic achievements. Participants chose from among their beloved faculty, friends, and mentors someone to present them with a Kente cloth stole, as a gesture of a rite of passage. The stoles, which were designed by William and Mary students, bear a symbol representing “unity in diversity.”

West Chester University in Pennsylvania held the first Donning of the Kente ceremony in 1993, borrowing from West African traditions. Since its inception, colleges throughout the country as part of their annual Commencement activities have adopted the ceremony.