Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje celebration participants at 2009 Commencement

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OHIO to honor multicultural graduates on June 11

Ceremony to feature 88 students

Ohio University's Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje celebration will occur at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 11, in Baker University Center Ballroom. 

The Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje celebration was created in 1997 by Linda Daniels, director of multicultural programs. It originally started out as two separate programs for African-American students and Latino students, respectively, but was combined four years ago in order to create one unified multicultural complement to graduation. 

The name is derived from several languages. "Kushinda" comes from the east African languages of Dawida and Mwera and means "to overcome" or "to win." The second part of the name, "Ritos de Pasaje," is a Spanish phrase, which means "rites of passage."

A complement to the June 12 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, the Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje  is a time for the friends and families of graduates as well as the OHIO community to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the class of 2010.

"I am very excited to participate in the ceremony," said Justin Snow, a Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje participant. "It will be a wonderful experience to graduate with students I entered Ohio University with and this event will allow us all to reflect on how far we have come.”

Registered participants for the celebration will have their name and photograph featured in a commemorative souvenir booklet and receive a class of 2010 photograph, a certificate and a Kente/Serape cloth to put on their graduation gown. 

The ceremony will feature an inspirational keynote address by Peter Lawson Jones, a Cuyahoga County Commissioner and Harvard Law School graduate whose son Ryan is in the class of 2010. A reception will follow in Baker University Center 240/242.

The ceremony is expected to draw 88 soon-to-be graduates, making the group one of the largest to ever participate in Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje, according to Alicia Boards, assistant director of multicultural programs. Boards has organized the event the last three years.

"This ceremony is meant to recognize all of the accomplishments made by the class of 2010,” she said. “It is truly an honor to see the legacy that each class of new graduates leaves behind at Ohio University."

On June 2, participants enjoyed a class mixer at 6 p.m. in Walter Hall Rotunda where they took a class photo, voted on senior superlatives and viewed a slideshow of photographs from their college careers. They also compiled a list of helpful tips and suggestions to benefit the incoming freshmen class. 

The words of wisdom will be distributed to freshmen who attend the fall 2010 "Opening the Way" program, an event aimed at helping multicultural freshmen start their college careers on the right track.