Queensborough’s Second Sankofa Celebration

Published: May 31, 2024

2024 Sankofa Celebration in the QPAC at Humanities Theater

We gather, we uplift, we rise. This was the theme woven throughout Queensborough’s second Sankofa Celebration held on May 28 at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center (QPAC).

And family, friends, administrators, alumni, and soon-to-be Sankofa graduates did just that.

Among those in the audience was Nadine Jamieson, ‘23, who graduated from Queensborough’s Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Medical Assistant degree program. She now works as an office assistant at the Medical Assistant Government Division of Homes and Community Renewal. “I graduated in the first Sankofa Celebration held last year so when I received an invitation, I wanted to come back and support a new class of graduates.”

Nadine said that she will always be grateful to Queensborough for the support shown to her from the whole College community, especially her mentors. “I am here to be united with other African American graduates and to keep in touch, to return the support I received from the College and pay it forward to all Queensborough graduates.”

Collette, originally from the island of Jamaica and stepmom of Sankofa graduate Tolleifa Bent said, “Her accomplishments are so amazing. What makes it extra special is that she is the first daughter to graduate from college on both her mother’s and father’s side.”

Alumni speaker Donyea Burton, ’23 who graduated with a degree in Business Administration, spoke of his positive experiences as a mentor in the Male Resource Center and how it provided him “a safe space to just be me.”

Welcome remarks were given by Dr. Christine Mangino, President of Queensborough Community College, and Dean Tikola Russell, Dean of Students, Office of Community Standards. The Student Government Association address was given by outgoing President Davia Willis, who will graduate this spring with an associate in science (A.S.) degree in Criminal Justice. The Staff Sankofa Award was presented by Dr. Kersha Smith, Associate Professor of Psychology, to Belodine Jobe-Perry, CUNY Administrative Assistant, Office of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management. The Faculty Sankofa Award was presented by Dr. Kerri-Ann M. Smith, Associate Professor, English, Inaugural Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, and founding member of the Black Faculty Staff Association, to Nicole McClam, Associate Professor, Dance.

The keynote was given by Dawn S. Walker, MPA, a CUNY graduate whose professional career included senior level positions in communications at Kingsborough Community College and Medgar Evers College. Currently she is Vice President of Communications & Marketing at SUNY Downstate.

As the Sankofa graduates crossed the stage to receive their Sankofa Stole they passed a large backdrop featuring photos that appeared in Queensborough’s 1962 Aurora Yearbook of the first four Black degree students: Andrew Davis, Associate in Arts (A.A.), Beatrice Jackson, Associate in Arts (A.A.), Bernette Ford, Associate in Arts (A.A.), and Donald Hamilton, Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) These graduates of Queensborough had stories of their own--trailblazers for the next generation to stand on their shoulders and realize their dreams.

The Sankofa Celebration was sponsored by the QCC Incubator, part of the first cohort of four community and senior colleges selected to receive funding from the CUNY Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Incubator to facilitate the creation of equitable spaces on campus. The Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA), the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Black Student Union (BSU) were co-sponsors of the event.


Contact:  Alice Doyle

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