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UF Hispanic Latino Affairs Honors Latinx Graduates

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The University of Florida’s Hispanic Latino Affairs honored four of its former student ambassadors with a small graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

The ceremony was brought back last semester after a short hiatus, and it presents the students with HLA stoles to honor their commitment and work for the organization.

Hispanic Latino Affairs stoles, worn along with a gown, were given out to graduates at Wednesday's ceremony. (Michelle Tapia/WUFT News)
Hispanic Latino Affairs stoles, worn along with a gown, were given out to graduates at Wednesday’s ceremony. (Michelle Tapia/WUFT News)

Gabe Lara, director of Hispanic Latino Affairs and interim associate director of Multicultural Diversity Affairs, said although the tradition is starting out small with current HLA ambassadors, he envisions holding a larger graduation ceremony in the future to honor all Latinx students at UF.

Uuniversities like Berkeley and UCLA have already implemented similar ceremonies that draw in thousands of students and parents, according to Lara. He said ceremonies like these are important because they set the expectation.

“It always seems shocking when other people look at members of our community who graduated like, ‘Oh wow, they graduated.’ But, little by little we’re changing that. It’s not if they graduate but when,” Lara said.

Students like Jacob Diego Terán, one of the ambassadors being honored, feel this ceremony embodies the struggle some may have faced to get here.

“It’s hard to put into words, but I’ve been really reflective now that I’m graduating. I think it’s really the cherry on top not just for me or my family but all of my ancestors that came before me. My parents are immigrants–I’m getting emotional– but after all these things I did it. I’m here,” Terán said.

HLA honored fall graduates and former student ambassadors from left: Melisa Lopez, Kelvin Dominguez, Jose Abastida and Jacob Diego Terán, at Wednesday's ceremony.
HLA honored fall graduates and former student ambassadors from left: Melisa Lopez, Kelvin Dominguez, Jose Abastida and Jacob Diego Terán, at Wednesday’s ceremony.

About Michelle Tapia

Michelle Tapia is a reporter for WUFT News and can be reached at 352-392-6397 or michellebtapia@ufl.edu.

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