Illinois State University is hosting its annual pre-commencement celebration, Umoja: Celebration of Black Graduates, at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, in the Center for Performing Arts.

The free event is a celebration of African-American and other students of color, who have successfully completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in 2014. This year’s theme is The 3Rs of Black Education: Resistance, Resilience and Reciprocity. Faculty and staff are invited to be a part of the Harambee: Circle of Culture. The circle of culture functions similarly to a circle of elders for the event.

The circle will include community members who have supported, advocated for, taught and/or encouraged students to reach their goals. To register or for more information go online.

The Umoja celebration was born from African-American students, faculty, alumni and staff. It arose from a desire to acknowledge and celebrate the unique educational challenges, experiences, struggles and successes of students of African and African-American culture. The initiative is led by the Association of Black Academic Employees and the Black Graduate Student Association.