Multicultural Graduation Celebration added to LU commencement festivities

Lamar University’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence will host the first Multicultural Multicultural GradGraduation Celebration, Friday, May 7 at 4 p.m. in the Shelia Umphrey Recreational Sports Center.

Students representing Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, McNair Scholars, LGBTQ+, Asian/Pacific Islander and International cultures will participate, each receiving a graduation stole/collar representative of their culture/interest.

"The purpose of this event is to empower and celebrate the graduation and academic success of historically underrepresented students and those from traditionally marginalized groups at Lamar University and those honor their cultural heritage and history with their family, friends and the campus community," said Dr. Wilma Jackson, director, Office of Diversity & Inclusive Excellence.

William A. Owuama, Jr., a computer science major from Houston, who will work for JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a software engineer upon graduation, says the event can help others reach their goals.

“Having a platform to hyper focus on this milestone in our lives is what will serve as a beacon of light to those that wonder if they too are capable,” said Owuama. “It serves as a platform to show the classes after us that we matter, and, despite any hardships that uniquely impact our communities, we, too, can thrive and succeed.”  

In December the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence hosted a celebration honoring the Black/African American graduation candidates. There was also celebration for the Hispanic/Latinx students.

“Due to the success of both events, we have expanded and welcomed more groups to participate,” Jackson.

The event, themed “New Dimensions: Keep your head to the sky,” will include a processional of all Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, McNair Scholars, LGBTQ+, Asian/Pacific Islander and International faculty and staff with the candidates for graduation.

“I decided to participate in this event because culture plays a huge part in who we are as individuals and our upbringing through life,” said Fernando Ramos, a psychology major minoring in health from Camerson, TX.  “Along with making students feel valued, it is important to LU to learn about those around them and to broaden their perspectives of other cultures.” 

Dr. Ashley Spicer-Runnels is the featured speaker.  
Ashley Spicer
Dr. Ashley Spicer-Runnels


Spicer-Runnels, who received a Bachelor of Science in family studies from Lamar University, a Master of Business Administration from University of Houston-Victoria and a doctorate in educational leadership from LU, is the assistant vice provost for academic affairs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Through this position, Spicer-Runnels works closely with the deans, department chairs and other administrators to create policies and procedures for academic success and degree completion. In addition to her experience working with student and academic success initiatives, she also spent more than 10 years working in functional areas including multicultural affairs, Greek life, leadership development, first-year experience, family programming and many others. Prior to joining Texas A&M University-San Antonio she worked at Texas State University and Lamar University. 

“Lamar University continues to produce some of the best and brightest future leaders of our ‘global village’ of interconnected cultures, and this event is just more clear evidence of the university’s success,” said Dr. John Bello-Ogunu, vice president for the Division of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Intercultural Affairs.

To attend this celebration, please contact wjackson10@lamar.edu.