Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

History of Black Graduation

In 1997, a group of Black students at the UW decided to host a post-commencement graduation ceremony in order to create a more intimate and personal graduation experience. The group consisted of several students including the President of the Black Student Union, President of Sisterhood, and the Black Student Commissioner. With support from the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, the students hosted the first Black Graduation on June 10, 1997, at Grace Apostolic Church in Columbia City. The ceremony gave students the opportunity to recognize significant people who had helped them reach their goal including faculty, staff, friends and family. The event was deemed a success and has become an annual tradition. To learn more about the first Black Graduation read Walking to Black Graduation a 1997 UW Daily newspaper article interviewing several 1997 graduates and the reason that they felt a Black Graduation was necessary.