An estimated 1,400 students, family members, faculty, staff and others are expected to attend Washington State University’s Multicultural Graduation Celebration at 6 p.m. May 3 in the Compton Union Building Senior Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.
André-Denis Girard Wright, Dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, will deliver the keynote address. More than 200 of WSU’s graduating multicultural students will be honored at the event.
As the first person in his family to go to college and earn a graduate degree, Wright said he is very excited to speak to the students, their families, and community members.
“This opportunity is a huge honor and one of the most significant things I will do in my career,” he said. “I would not be where I am today, if it were not for my mother recognizing the importance of and insisting on my education, and the remarkable professors who have mentored and supported me.”
Wright will be introduced by Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. Keeping with tradition, the program will also feature four student speakers representing the Native American Student Center, Chicana/o Latina/o Student Center, African American Student Center, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Center.
Senior Celeste Estrada from Kennewick, Wash. will be one of those speakers. Estrada sat in the audience during the Multicultural Graduation Celebration as a WSU freshman. She remembers the powerful speeches made by other students and how they impacted her emotions.
Since that day, she always dreamed of standing on the same stage and giving her own speech to the graduating class.
“As an undocumented student, I worked extra hard to be where I am at today,” she said. “I want to share my journey at WSU, how I blossomed here into a vocal person and a strong advocate for immigration rights.”
The event is organized by the Office of Multicultural Student Services (MSS). MSS Director J. Manuel Acevedo said the graduation celebration is always one of his favorite events of the year.
“The ceremony allows us to celebrate the accomplishments of the students, share in this proud moment for them, their families, and communities, and provide them with an uplifting final experience at WSU before they head out into the world,” he said.