What is Donning of the Stoles?
Born out of the Kente Commencement Ceremony, Donning of the Stoles has a rich history. During Kente Commencment ceremonies, African American students are bestowed with Kente cloth stoles to signify their African heritage/origins, celebrate their cultural pride, and be recognized for their achievements.
In that same vein, the Donning of the Stoles ceremony here at UNC Asheville is a time in which students of diverse cultural communities and various racial/ethnic backgrounds have their accomplishments recognized and their achievements applauded by the campus community and their loved ones.
Various key people from across the campus community take this opportunity to explain the tradition of the ceremony and its importance, as well as their pride in this year's graduating class. Students' friends and/or families have the opportunity to speak to and about the graduate, telling others of the student's accomplishments, expressing their pride, and offering well wishes for the future. The speaker then drapes the stole over the student's shoulders, symbolic of embracing the past and welcoming the future.