The 43rd SDSU Black Baccalaureate Ceremony


Photo: Darrel Wheeler

There was a large gathering of family and friends last Thursday evening at the Lincoln High School Auditorium for the Black Baccalaureate Ceremony. This event was a celebration of San Diego State University’s black graduates who received their actual degrees the following day.

By Voice & Viewpoint Staff 

The tradition of the Black Baccalaureate ceremony, historically found as an almost spiritual event in Black Historical Colleges and Universities as one of the rites of graduation, was celebrated for the 43rd year at SDSU as the 50th milestone of the Africana Studies program as its sponsor. This was the first in-person Baccalaureate in the two years of the pandemic and the ability to gather as opposed to the “drive-thru” of last year, which made the occasion even more special.

The event started with the future graduates, in cap and gown, marching in a processional to the sounds of Sekani Thomas and Nigel Zuniga African Drummers. The graduates followed the faculty members, who led the walk. Each graduate wore robes that represented their achievements. The Grand Marshals were Professor Ajani Brown and Dr. Estralita Martin. Dr. Adisa A. Alkebulan served as Host of the Ceremony.

The program involved two student speakers followed by a Charge to Graduates, given by Ms. Chida Warren-Darby, Deputy Director of Communications and Director of Boards and Commissions with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. Warren is a University of San Diego graduate, former Managing Editor, and Co-Publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper; served as Executive Director of the original Black Chamber of Commerce; is creator of the Hadesha Project to help young girls, and is the publisher of her own magazine.

Her remarks drew a parallel between the present drought facing California’s environment and the drought in our lives when we face difficulties that seem hopeless. She talked about the rain storms that come into our lives bringing strength as well as much-needed water. She was well received by the graduates and her personal story seemed to appeal more to the majority female class, although it had something for everyone.

Quincey Penn, a doctoral student graduate, accepted the charge of graduates. Penn completed his Ph.D in Education from SDSU and Claremont Graduate School. The event also included clips from a forthcoming documentary on the 50 years of the Africana Studies Department at SDSU.