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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

From the Bible to Beyoncé: Graduating Seniors Honored in Silver Celebration

Rory Durso

The Office of Equity and Inclusion hosted the Fourth Annual Silver Celebration to recognize the achievements of underrepresented students at Loyola on April 23. Students from the class of 2024 who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, First-Generation, and International received cords that they will wear at graduation on May 18. The silver included in each cord is meant to symbolize intuition, prosperity, success, and balance. Each group received a different color cord corresponding to the group they belong to. For example, the cyan and silver cords were awarded to international students.

The lavender and silver cords were given to honor the experiences of LGBTQIA+ students and allies. Dr. Sunny Swift, the LGBTQ+ Services Coordinator at the Counseling Center, introduced the cords and explained the significance of the lavender color.

“The lavender color used in this cord is used across universities in celebration of the LQBTQ+ community. Every color in the rainbow pride flag stands for a value integral to the community and purple stands for community spirit,” Swift said.

Rebecca Cruciani ‘24, the vice president of Spectrum, Loyola’s LGBTQ+ social group on campus, said that she was surprised to come to Loyola as a transfer student and see how they recognize and celebrate people’s identities.

“None of these events are tucked away or hidden in the corner,” Cruciani said.

“It’s really nice to see that being presented, cause I know other colleges or other universities would be too afraid to do it.”

The gold, silver, and black cords represented the experience of BIPOC students at Loyola. Three of the four winners of the 2024 Commitment to Equity and Inclusion Awards identified as women of color. The Commitment to Equity Inclusion Awards went to the students who showed true initiative in advocating for marginalized students in the Loyola community.

The orange and silver cords were given to highlight the experience of first-generation college students. Dennis Velez, who serves as the Associate Director of ALANA Services, gave a brief welcome address, and shared some of his experience as a first-generation student and what Loyola provides for first-generation students.

“I think what’s been great to see is that when I was an undergrad, there wasn’t a lot of support for First-Gen students in general, but it’s great that at Loyola, there are so many different resources like staff and administrators,” Velez said.

“It’s nice to see that over the years, schools have gotten a little more intentional about supporting First-Gen students because it’s not easy when you’re navigating everything on your own.”

Rory Durso

Loyola President Terrence Sawyer, J.D. provided opening remarks where he applauded the graduating seniors for their efforts in making Loyola a better place and enriching the university through their experiences unique to their identities.

“You have overcome challenges, you’ve embraced opportunities, you have exuded joy. And you have inspired so many people along the way [in the time that] you’ve been here,” President Sawyer said.

“I am proud of who you are. And I am proud and excited for all that you are going to accomplish in the future.”

Dr. Cheryl Moore-Thomas, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, gave the keynote address of the evening, where she delivered advice to the graduating seniors on life lessons to carry with them throughout their lives, with themes ranging from the Bible to Beyoncé.

“You are and have been deeply committed to bringing us together. You’ve been committed to asking the tough questions. You’ve been committed to help us live up to our mission of full inclusion and belonging,” Moore-Thomas said.

“But I believe in the deepest part of my heart that God has placed all you need in you already for the journey that’s ahead. Promise me you will never doubt that.”

To conclude her speech, Dr. Moore-Thomas left students with some final parting words of wisdom.

“Beyoncé’s got a lot going on. She’s talented, she’s beautiful, she’s an amazing businessperson. But friends, let’s get real. Beyoncé is no Loyola graduate!” Dr. Moore-Thomas said.

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