Wittenberg’s William A. McClain Center for Diversity hosted the third annual Black Celebratory Graduation (Hitimu) dinner honoring the University’s Black students as one of many celebratory events leading up to the 171st Commencement exercises.
Approximately 45 students were recognized on May 13 at the 1929 Fieldhouse gymnasium, part of the Health, Wellness, & Athletics Complex, at the Hitimu event. Hitimu means ‘graduate’ in Swahili.
A special virtual video conference message was given by Concerned Black Students (CBS) Legacy president Jennifer Carter, class of 1994, and pre-recorded music was presented by the Imani Gospel Choir and arranged by Kent Brooks. Dinner music was supplied by Heartbeat Music, and Parkhurst Dining catered the meal.
“Thanks to 28 of our graduating seniors who attended tonight’s event surrounded by their family and friends. And thanks to our supportive staff and faculty attending as well,” said Corrine J. Witherspoon, director of the McClain Center for Diversity. “To all of our seniors, your hard work and dedication over the past four-to-five years has paid off. You will join a new group of distinguished Wittenberg alumni, and we honor you tonight!”
Three seniors spoke about their Wittenberg experience: Jhiara Henderson, from Bowie, Maryland, who served as the CBS president; Alexandria Fairrow, of Pickerington, Ohio, who served as vice president of CBS; and Zori Parker, from Springfield, Ohio, who served as the Shades of Pearl vice president.
Others speaking at the event included President Michael L. Frandsen; Provost Michele Mattson; Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students Casey Gill; and Pastor Rachel Tune, who offered the blessing of the meal.
Also during the event, all students received the inaugural William McClain Center for Diversity leadership award for their work in the various student groups and the Office of Alumni Engagement hosted a pinning ceremony. Kente Stolls and certificates were presented to seniors Taylor Adams of New Albany, Ohio; Zadia Buchanan of Dayton, Ohio; Maceo Davis of Chicago, Illinois; Jasmine Evans of Cincinnati, Ohio; Lauren Faircloth of Cincinnati, Ohio; Elyse Goins of Cincinnati, Ohio; Saqqara Goins of Springfield, Ohio; Maurice Graham of Brooklyn, New York; Hanna Habtu of Washington, D.C.; Schneider Herard of Naples, Florida; Kaylynn Hill of Dayton, Ohio; Joseph Jenkins of Cincinnati, Ohio; Alexis Johnson of Southfield, Michigan; Sarah Kent of Media, Pennsylvania; Shayree McCoy of Columbus, Ohio; Sydney Melton of Silver Springs, Maryland; Ryan Peaks of Columbus, Ohio; Adam Porter of Columbus, Ohio; Daejah Sally of Chicago, Illinois; Jordan Smith of Hamilton, Ohio; David Span IV of Orlando, Florida; ,Meseker Tefera of Washington, D.C.; Kristiaan Thompson of Gahanna, Ohio; Jamin Waite of Lexington, Kentucky; Myles Weldon of Miramar, Florida; along with Fairrow, Henderson, and Parker.
A few special awards were also presented this year.