An Evening of Black Excellence Graduation

Thank you for your interest in an Evening of Black Excellence graduation which highlights and celebrates our African American/Black identities on campus!

Celebrate Black Excellence

The African American Faculty- Staff Association, Center for African American Studies, and Intercultural Student Engagement Center, in addition to UTA faculty, staff and student volunteers, collectively working together to coordinate identity and culturally based graduation ceremonies that complement the University’s commencement celebrations. These cultural celebrations acknowledge the value and uniqueness of underserved student experiences and serve to commemorate and highlight the accomplishments of individuals within a familial and cultural context.

History of An Evening of Black Excellence

The first celebration for Black graduates was held in Spring 2010. It was described as the African American Faculty Staff Association (AAFSA) Annual Recognition ceremony. Dr. Marvin Dulaney was the president of the organization at the time, and its main purpose was to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of select African American students. The AAFSA asked the colleges & deans to submit the name of an outstanding African American scholar in their area for this event. Beginning in Spring 2014, under the leadership of then AAFSA president Alisa Johnson, the organization decided to expand this event and recognize all graduating African American students. Until Spring 2017, the event was referred to as the black graduation ceremony or “Black Grad” for short. Richard Jimmerson, a staff member, was the graduation committee chair for this first event.

Eventually, the AAFSA would begin a partnership with the Center for African American Studies (CAAS) to host this event. CAAS was founded in 2012 and began having an end of the year celebration to recognize the achievements and contributions of CAAS students, faculty, and community supporters in spring 2013 called “CAAS Honors” under the leadership of inaugural director Dr. Schnavia Hatcher. Then, starting in Spring 2018, under then AAFSA president Alan Bowling, graduation committee chairman Eddie Freeman, and CAAS director Dr. Jason Shelton, the organizations agreed to merge these separate ceremonies into a single event that was referred to as “An Evening of Black Excellence.” This event, which continued through Spring 2022, served to acknowledge African American graduates, and functioned as a celebration of African American culture and achievement at UT-Arlington. Various campus organizations merge their efforts and resources in supporting this important event as a sign of unity and solidarity.

An Evening of Black Excellence Graduation FAQ

Yes! The registration form serves to inform the graduation committees to include in their programs, how many students to expect, etc. While we would like to provide a stole and celebrate every graduating senior, stoles are limited so please register early!