The celebrations took place from May 2–6 at the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, honoring students from the Black, Latinx, LGBTQ, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Seniors received colored stoles, certificates, and other items that symbolized their identity.
Juan Carlos Matos, assistant vice president for student affairs for diversity and inclusion, said the events drew a lot of excitement this year, with students buzzing about the celebrations beforehand and younger classmates leading the planning process.
“I think being able to create a tradition that folks look forward to and a culminating experience that connects back to people’s identity and culture is an important thing for the Fordham community,” he said.
Dorothy Bogen is a Fordham College of Rose Hill sophomore who served as a programming coordinator for the LGBTQ History Month committee of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which ran the Diversity Graduations.
In her role she also led the planning for other events, including the Lavender graduation ceremony for LGBTQ seniors, which featured an appearance from theology Professor Patrick Hornbeck, Ph.D.
“Professor Hornbeck gave an inspiring speech (even with a fire drill interruption!) and it was awesome to feel the joy and the energy in the room as students were called up to receive their stoles,” said Bogen, an American Studies and Film and Television major from Cleveland. “We also got to connect with the Rainbow Rams (the alumni group for Fordham LGBTQ graduates), and their representatives also gave great speeches on both campuses.”
Arianna Chen, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior from Wayne, New Jersey, attended the AAPI ceremony. She said she was grateful that the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted these events and took the time to “acknowledge and celebrate the unique experiences held by students of varying identities.”
“It was important for me to participate in the Diversity Graduation ceremony because my identity has been a key part of my Fordham experience, not only as a DEI student activist, but also just a student of color navigating a predominantly white institution,” she said.
Chen received an AAPI stole and ACE (Asian Cultural Exchange) pin that she said she is “so looking forward to proudly donning at [her]Commencement ceremony.”
Matos said there was a “mix of support, love, and joy” at the events, each of which featured a recorded greeting from Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
“Students being able to celebrate with their peers and be celebrated was a huge deal,” he said.