| 03.19.2018

Multicultural seniors celebrate their academic accomplishments in separate ceremony


The multicultural graduation ceremony is a more “intimate setting” than the traditional senior graduation, said Leathia Botello, program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

She said multicultural students invite their friends and family to the bilingual event to recognize these seniors” accomplishments and help non-English speaking families feel fully engaged in the occasion.

The Diversity and Human Rights Unit has put together the multicultural graduation, or the Diversity and Human Rights graduation, for the last two years. The unit is made up of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Native American Student Center, the Women”s Center and the LGBTQA Office.

Each student will be recognized for their major with a senior photo. Jeff Dodge from the College of Law, who has worked with many of the multicultural students, will be the keynote speaker for the event.

Evelina Arevalos, the CAMP director at the University of Idaho, said the event started out very informal. She said it was a small celebration among the multicultural students and the faculty they worked with and over the years grew to become the formal event it is today.

Director of Multicultural Affairs Jesse Martinez said the most meaningful part of the event for him is when the students have the opportunity to thank those who supported them throughout their academic experience.

“It is very important to have a kind of moment,” Martinez said. “To have the families and students coming together, faculty and staff, to come together and actually give that space for our students to not only take it all in but also say a few words.”

Forty-three students will participate in the multicultural graduation, more than ever before. Each will have their picture displayed along with their favorite quote and will be allowed time to give their thanks to their families, the faculty and their friends.

“It”s very emotional,” Martinez said.

Bekah MillerMacPhee, program coordinator for the Women”s Center, has taken the lead in helping everyone know what they need to be doing for the event.

MillerMacPhee said the majority of the multicultural students are first-generation graduates, so they really appreciate everyone who helped them “make it to the finish line.”

MillerMacPhee said this can have a great impact on the younger siblings of the graduates, and often seeing their older sibling being recognized for their accomplishments can inspire them to pursue a college degree.

The multicultural graduation will be held at 6 p.m. May 13 in the Vandal Ballroom of the Bruce Pitman Center. The event is open to multicultural students and guests who have reserved their place at the event.

Marisa Casella can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter at @marisacasella1

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