Photos Steve Peterson
This year marks the 40th Black Baccalaureate Celebration for SDSU students. This celebration is an opportunity to recognize and honor graduates who are also members of the black community. The ceremony took place at Lincoln High School, 4777 Imperial Ave., San Diego, Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m.
“The Black Baccalaureate Ceremony is a time for black Faculty to honor SDSU black graduates in the black community–with well-honored black traditions of song and expressive culture,” said Associate Professor of Africana Studies Charles Toombs. “This year’s theme, “40 Years of Leadership: Dismantling Barriers for Our People,” is an apt one to celebrate black students at SDSU and the Department of Africana Studies’ 40-year support, recognition and honor of black students’ accomplishments and leadership at SDSU and in the black community,” he said.
According to literature describing the 40-year tradition,”In 1980, after years of hearing complaints from students and parents about the quality and relevance of the University commencement services, Dr. Shirley Weber, the department chairperson of Africana Studies, proposed the Black Baccalaureate to the Africana Studies Department (then known as Afro-American Studies). The faculty enthusiastically accepted the idea and the late Dr. Shirley Thomas was asked to coordinate the first event.
It was not the intention of the Black Baccalaureate to replace commencement, but to provide an additional service that would speak to the unique experiences and accomplishments of Black students. The Black Baccalaureate is a time of reflection, celebration, and dedication. Because it is the Black community that has given birth and support to so many Black students at SDSU, and it is the Black community to which they will return as committed and competent individuals, it is only proper that the Black Baccalaureate be held in the Black community.”