Umoja: Celebration of Black Graduates, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in the Center for Performing Arts on the campus of Illinois State University.

The annual pre-commencement ceremony is a celebration of African-American and other students of color, who, through unyielding determination, have successfully completed undergraduate and graduate degrees from ISU in 2016. This year’s theme is “Let Resistance Be Our Motto.”

image of Lenford Sutton

Lenford Sutton

This year’s Umoja celebration will feature keynote speaker Lenford Sutton, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations at Illinois State.

Sutton has taught in the areas of public school finance, education law, adult learning theory, educational administration, and education policy. His research interests are focused on issues related to education funding, including the privatization of public schools, the fiscal effects of educational reform, school desegregation, and education finance litigation. The results of his research have been published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Education Finance, Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Journal of Education Reform, and Educational Considerations.

This event is free to all participants and guests, regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or lack of, marital status, or age.

For information, contact Tameika Bailey at

Faculty and staff are invited to take part in the annual Umoja celebration. Find out more information on getting involved.