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Nia Rite of Passage

NIA, the Swahili term for purpose, means “to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.” The program honored not only the graduates, but also those that helped them to get where they are today, including parents, family, and loved ones while reminding us “to whom much is given, much is required.”

“We wanted to provide a celebration that is representative of African American and African tradition, heritage, culture, and legacy and reaffirm the campus and community’s commitment to encourage and support students,” says Teresa Smith, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services. “This ceremony marks a tradition of valuing our cultural offerings to the College and beyond. This program is a celebration of this philosophy, and reinforces the bonds of scholarship, and extends the sense of community that was created from the time the students first arrived on campus.”

The “NIA” principle encourages citizens to commit themselves to the glorious duty of restoring families, neighborhoods, and people to their historical greatness. As a life-long member of the College of Charleston family, through the Nia Rite of Passage Celebration, graduates will be charged to do the same.

Students who would like to participate in the Nia Rite of Passage Celebration, please complete this application. 

 For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services at 843.953.5660 or 

The Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services will honor the accomplishments of graduating seniors at the 7th Annual NIA Rite of Passage Celebration. The ceremony was held on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in the Theodore S. Stern Ballroom.


2018 Nia Graduates