35th Annual Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration



The African American Resource Center (AARC) and the Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration (PARC) Planning Committee invites graduating students to register for the 35th Annual Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration scheduled for Sunday, May 5, 2024 from 12:00pm - 2:00pm in the TSU Pavillion. This celebration recognizes California State University, Fullerton's Black and African American graduates. The theme for PARC rotates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, this year the theme is Ujamaa which means cooperative economics. There is no cost to register for the ceremony. Only students registered for the event will be eligible to receive a kente stole. If you have any questions, please contact the African American Resource Center at aarc@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-3230! 

Please note that stoles are limited and only available to the first 120 registered students.  On the registration form, you will be asked for phonetic spelling and information about the degree(s) you will be obtaining. Please ensure this information is accurate for our booklet and ceremony logistics! 

Register for the ceremony!Opens in new window

If for some reason you realize you put the wrong information, please contact the African American Resource Center immediately at aarc@fullerton.eduOpens in new window

Frequently Asked Questions

  Q. When is PARC (or black grad as they may call it)? 

  1. The Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration will take place on Sunday, May 5 from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Q. How much does it cost? 

  1. The ceremony is FREE this year to students!

Q. What about guest tickets? 

  1. This year the ceremony will take place in the TSU Pavilions. Due to the availability of space in the Pavilions, there will be a 4 guest maximum per student graduate participant this year.

Q. What time are students expected to arrive? 

  1. Students have been instructed to arrive no later than 10:45am and check-in in at the TSU Pavilions. Further instructions will be given from there.

Q. What is the attire for the ceremony?

  1. Students are expected to arrive in FULL regalia! Please wear your cap and gown to the Pan-Afrikan Recognition Celebration.

Q. Where do guests park? 

  1. Students and guests are encouraged to park in the State College Parking Structure behind the TSU. Parking is free on weekends. 

Q. Will there be hooding of master’s and doctoral students? 

  1. In order to keep the event under two hours and in compliance with University Commencement, we will NOT hood master’s and doctoral students at the celebration. 

Q. How do I receive the kente stole?

  1. The kente stole will only be given to students during the ceremony. Students may not pickup the stole earlier. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Q. Who do I contact if I have other questions? 

  1. Other questions can be directed to Elaina Sidney at elsidney@fullerton.edu.

Q. Additional Questions

  1. Please visit the   DIRC Recognition Celebration FAQs pageOpens in new window   Opens in new window for answers to general questions or contact   aarc@fullerton.edu. 


To ensure your name and degree is on the booklet of participants that every graduate will receive at the ceremony, you must register no later than Wednesday, April 3rd  2024 at 5PM. If we have not yet met our 120 max, attendees who sign up after April 3rd  2024 may not have their name mentioned in the booklet to ensure we can purchase, print and have the booklets ready in time for the ceremony.


Sankofa heart symbol

The Adinkra Symbols are believed to be originated from Gyaman, present day Côte D’Ivoire (West Africa). The King of Gyam wore pattered cloth as he was taken away from his kingdom. These myriad of symbols are now used in cloths that is specially made from the region to mark movement in one’s life due to special events, such as funerals and weddings. These patterns are made in wooden blocks stamps made from the bark and roots from the Kuntuni trees, trees native to the region. Even the ink used to mark the cloths are natural and not made to last beyond the event they were intended for.

Sankofa is a principle derived from the Akan people of Ghana that one should remember the past to make positive progress in the future. The Akan tribe of Ghanaian Africans is part of the larger Ashanti (or Asante) group of people from West Africa.

The word Sankofa literally means “to retrieve” in the Akan Twi language, but the meaning of Sankofa is more broadly expanded upon in this Akan proverb: “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi” (translated from the Akan language to mean “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”). The power of Sankofa centers around this: to know history and your heritage is to know your current self, the world around you, and how to better both.

Sankofa has inspired both activism and art. African American studies and Africana studies often reference the spirit and substance of Sankofa; and filmmakers, musicians, and artists have used the term and its related imagery in their work. From its Ghanaian roots, the concept and its symbols have become pan-African and even worldwide in their scope of influence.

There are two main Sankofa symbols—also known as Bono Adinkra symbols: one is a mythical bird turning its head backward to eat a precious egg and the latter is a stylized heart. People often manufacture the Sankofa bird as a gold weight or emblazon the Sankofa heart shape on art projects or even their bodies as Sankofa tattoos. The latter also appears on many gates in America, in New York in particular.


Since at least the 1970s, African American graduates -particularly university graduates- wear a kente cloth stole over their graduation robes. The kente cloth stole represents the graduates' pride in their restored Afrikan heritage, and their pride in their accomplishment of graduating. The Kente Cloth is a material produced from the Western African hemisphere, and direct ties to the stolen lineage African American had endured due to the American enslavement trade.  

Kente cloth is deeply intertwined with the history of the Ashanti nation. The Ashanti Empire or Confederacy, which was located in what is today Ghana, first emerged in West Africa during the seventeenth century. The Ashanti are members of the Akan people who speak the Akan or Ashanti dialect. The word “Kente” which means basket comes from the Akan or Ashanti dialect. Akans also refer to Kente as nwentoma, which means woven cloth. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their special meanings and stories. But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the emergence of the various Ashanti Kingdoms to the development of the slave trade up to and including contemporary life in Ghana.

According to Ashanti legend, two farmers, Krugu Amoaya and Watah Kraban, from the village of Bonwire, came across a spider, Ananse, spinning the web. Amazed by the web’s beauty, the farmers returned to their homes eager to try and recreate the web.  They wove a cloth first from white, and then black and white, fibers from a raffia tree. They then presented their cloth to the Ashanti Asantehene, or king, Nana Osei Tutu (who reigned from 1701 to 1717).

As descendants of ancestors that come from the West African Ashanti Empire, African American students pay homage to their ancestors by wearing the kente stoles during graduation.