Little did international student Patrick Masala realize that the ceremony he established in 1992 to celebrate the achievements of the University of Miami’s black graduates would become a time-honored tradition at the institution.
But that is precisely what Senior Mwambo has become.
On Thursday, as UM kicked off three days of commencement exercises recognizing its newest sons and daughters, the colorful and lively Senior Mwambo ceremony played out once again, showcasing the diversity that is a hallmark of outgoing UM President Donna E. Shalala’s administration.
Black graduates from across the University gathered at Gusman Concert Hall to participate in the service, which marks the transition from their lives at UM to advanced education and professional careers. A Chichewa word from Malawi, East Africa, “Mwambo” literally means ceremonial rite of passage.
Each student received a colorful Kente stole as they marched across the Gusman stage and shook hands with Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely.