Continuing a now-established tradition unique to Daemen, the sixth ALHANA (African, Latinx, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) ceremony celebrated the achievements of the college’s racially and ethnically diverse graduates of the Class of 2021.
“By recognizing the unique obstacles faced by these marginalized students, we honor the perseverance and commitment taken to reach their goals,” said Tiffany Hamilton, chief diversity officer and director of the Arthur O. Eve HEOP program at Daemen.
Delivering the event’s main address, Amanda Best—a 2016 Daemen graduate in business administration and marketing—marked the singular nature of accomplishment of earning a degree despite the disruptions and distractions of a global pandemic.
“Please know you’re a part of history,” said Best. “You could have quit. But you did not.”
With a message of celebrating solidarity and identity, Best encouraged soon-to-be graduates by recounting her professional path that’s seen her climb the ranks at HealthNow New York.
A 2021 master’s in organizational leadership graduate of Medaille College, and a licensed agent for WNY Metro Roberts Realty, Best spoke of the importance of continuing to develop one’s talent, skills and network of relationships in search of new opportunities and purpose—a sentiment echoed by Kayla Powell, an admissions counselor at Daemen.
“You have a village that will continue to uplift you,” said Powell.
Additional remarks were provided by Gary Olson, president of Daemen College; Greg Nayor, vice president for strategic initiatives; Yolanda Morris, director of admissions events and special programs; Dasia Morman, assistant director of diversity and inclusion; Lamark Shaw, director of career services; Eann Robinson, assistant director of HEOP; and others.
The ceremony also included the tradition of donning ALHANA stoles to be worn at commencement and “symbolizes and commemorates the rite of passage for learners and scholars who are transitioning from institutions of higher learning to the next chapter of their lives,” according to the Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI).