Black Graduation 

Chancellor and Graduates 

The 2017 UCR Black Graduation Ceremony 

When: Sunday June 11th 2017

Time: 2:00 PM (PDT)

Where:UCR Student Recreation Center


UCR’s Black Graduation honors and recognizes the accomplishments of our scholars. It’s an opportunity for students to personalize this milestone in their academic career. The event is free and open to all – seating is limited.

Doors open at 12:30pm
Free parking (Lot 24)

Sorry, guests may not bring helium balloons into the Student Recreation Center.

Directions from the 60 Freeway
Exit on University Avenue and turn east. Curve left on Canyon Crest Drive. Park in Lot 24; it will be on your right.



Fifty years ago, our first Black graduates led the way. In 1999, we held our first Black Graduation ceremony at UCR. Since then, Black Highlanders have not only established themselves as the student group most likely to graduate, they have made this annual commencement one of the most moving and meaningful events on campus.

Black Graduation acknowledges not only what our graduates have achieved individually, but champions our collective joy as connected scholars. Distinguished speakers, special student awards, live performances and the tradition of wearing Kente cloth stoles, hand-woven in Africa, all add to the vibrancy of this celebratory day.

Black Graduation Awards

There are three special senior awards connected to our annual Black Graduation:

James Wesley (JW) Vines Society Award

The JW Vines Society Award is presented to the outstanding graduating senior active in mentorship and improving educational opportunities for African American students seeking careers in the medical and health science fields. The JW Society sponsors the Vines Student Mentor Partnership and UCR’s African Americans United in Science Members also serve as community speakers and collectively advocate for issues such as equal opportunity in education, the development and retention of African American physicians, and improving the overall quality of patient care and education in our communities.

For more information on the James Wesley Vines Society Award, please contact African Student Programs.

The Nathan Alex Irvin Award

Nathan “Nate” Alex Irvin was an outstanding student athlete who graduated from UCR in 2003 with a 3.8 cumulative grade point average. As a pre-med biology major, Nate made the Dean’s List 10 times and the Chancellor’s Honor List twice. He was also captain of the UCR track team for three years.

In addition to his academic and athletic achievements, Nate was president of African Americans United in Science for two years. He was a counselor for the National Youth Sports Program, an organization that exposes underprivileged children to a college environment while communicating to them the value of discipline and athletics, and he volunteered with the SOAR program,tutoring local youth. He also served as a bio-med peer mentor, helping freshman transition into UCR’s rigorous medical science program.

In 2003, Black Issues in Higher Education Magazine named Nate the 2003 male Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year, an honor for exemplifying high standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. Nate also earned the JW Vines Society Award that same year.

After weighing his options of attending medical school at Harvard, Yale or Cornell, Nate chose Harvard.

Because of his outstanding accomplishments and commitment to the Black community and UCR, the Black Graduation Committee established the Nathan Alex Irvin Award. The award recognizes a graduating senior who possesses outstanding character, scholastic achievement, and leadership qualities with an emphasis on uplifting Black communities, both on and off campus.

For more information on the Nathan Alex Irvin Award, please contact African Student Programs.

The Zeanissia Moore Award

Zeanissia Moore graduated cum laude from UCR with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2003. During her undergraduate career she maintained a wealth of responsibilities including raising two school-age children, assisting her mother with running the family business, carrying a full academic load and helping to reestablish UCR’s Black Graduation tradition.

The Zeanissia Moore Award is presented to an African/African-American woman who has overcome many challenges during her undergraduate career, one who is resilient and strives for personal excellence in the face of adversity.

For more information on the Zeanissia Moore award, please contact African Student Programs.


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