MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University and the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence celebrated nearly 50 graduating multicultural students and their families during a Hitumu ceremony in the Curris Center Theatre May 10.
Hitimu — Swahili for “graduate” — is an inclusive and traditional ceremony in its 15th year at Murray State. Students from all walks of life are recognized for their hard work towards earning a degree, and each participant is encouraged to say a few words about their journey through higher education. Graduates are given a rose, which they can dedicate to friends and family.
Dr. SG Carthell, executive director of the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence, established the ceremony at Murray State to encourage more students to participate in commencement.
“We are celebrating students of different backgrounds and ethnicities who have completed a long and difficult journey,” Carthell said. “Graduation is one of the most important things a student can go through, and we want to commend that.”
Two graduating seniors taking part in the ceremony were computer science major John Skinner of Louisville, Kentucky, and communication disorders major Whitney Hardison of Mayfield, Kentucky. Both are Dr. Marvin D. Mills Scholars; Hardison will pursue a doctoral degree in audiology in the near future, while Skinner has accepted a job at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
“This is a great way to recognize students and to show what the Office does for us,” Skinner said. “The Office gave me so much support at Murray State. That sense of community was so helpful in my college career. I hope this ceremony continues on for many years.”
“It’s important that we have representation for people of color in this area of the country,” Hardison added. “It’s important to realize and support minorities that may not have the same privileges as other people do.”
Before graduates picked up the microphone, Murray State administrators offered words of encouragement for the road ahead.
“This is a special day for families, but an even more special day for our students,” said Murray State University President Dr. Bob Jackson. “Leave the halls of this institution motivated and inspired. Lead and work hard. Be passionate about your calling, no matter what your calling may be. Go out and make a difference in the world. We need you.”
“You’ve conquered, you’ve overcome and gone the extra mile in your studies,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Mark Arant. “We are all very proud of you. However, this is a commencement, a new beginning. It’s not an end. Your studies do not end here.”
Photo: Murray State University and the Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence celebrated nearly 50 graduating multicultural students and their families during a Hitumu ceremony in the Curris Center Theatre May 10. Graduates are pictured taking a photo with Murray State administrators.