First Multicultural Student Celebration a Success

Senior Selah Williams receives her stole from Davion Belk, MBA, deputy chief of staff and student success advocate at Stetson.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Student Council hosted the first-ever Multicultural Student Celebration Friday, April 19, with hopes of providing a space where underrepresented students could celebrate themselves, and their friends, while making new and everlasting relationships.

Erin Doggette, PhD

“This event was important, being an inaugural event, because just combining Sankofa with the MSC Celebration brings another element of that unity that we are trying to create with the MSC organizations, and also with the university,” said Erin Doggette, PhD, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “It shows that diverse cultures are coming together, celebrating others and — in celebrating each other — they are honoring and highlighting the university.

“This is meaningful to many of the students, and to myself, because there were first generation students at the event and a variety of marginalized students there,” she added. “Just to be able to have this event, which is something that is just for them — something that highlights their accomplishments and their achievements — is priceless.”

The event offered students a space to celebrate their academic success and a moment to reflect on all the milestones they have conquered since their first semester as Hatters.

Rev. Todd Campbell Jr.

“It’s a joy to be here with you to celebrate all of your accomplishments,” said Rev. Todd Campbell Jr., University Chaplain and director of Religious and Spiritual Life. “We cannot do anything without the other, as said in the Zulu philosophy: the idea of ‘Ubuntu,’ which means ‘I am, because you are.’ All of you have gotten here because we have supported each other. So, as you prepare to leave this place, seniors, let’s remember all the folks who have supported you along the way.”


One of the main purposes of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Stetson is to provide a network of open communication for multicultural students to share their stories and their traditions, and while doing so, absorbing knowledge about other cultures and religions that also are present in the Hatters family.

Trynyty Conway

“MSC is a big program here at Stetson, especially at a school that hasn’t had too many different cultures in the past,” said senior Trynyty Conway, 21, who is majoring in Business Administration with a double minor in Sports Business and Business Systems and Analytics. “Having a group of people get together and put a narrative in place that keeps us uplifted and together as a community — as well as spread nothing but happiness and joy — and celebrate accomplishments such as this has been a great experience.”

Conway hopes to pursue a Master of Business Administration after his graduation from Stetson in just a couple of weeks. Currently, he is in the transfer portal as a football player, given that he has one more year of eligibility, and hopes he can play a fifth year while pursuing his master’s degree outside of Stetson.

For the distribution of the stoles ceremony at the event, students were able to choose their stole. Conway decided to choose the African American stole that displayed the colors of red, gold and green to honor his grandfather, Theophilus Simmonds.

“He’s a Rastafari, and that’s their religion,” he said. “They go big on these colors, the Ethiopian colors, so it means a lot to me.”

As he walks away from campus and ventures into a new era of his life, Conway will treasure the relationships cultivated at Stetson and will forever look back at his years as a Hatter with a smile on his face.

“I’m going to remember the group of people that I met and the relationships I’ve built and the bonds that I have,” he said. “That’s going to last me an lifetime.”


For Dan’Nyija Huey, 22,  who is double majoring in Political Science and History, with a minor in African Studies, her graduation means a new accomplishment not only to her but to her entire family, as she is the first one to attend college.

Dan’Nyija Huey

“It is weird,” she said. “I won’t say I never thought I’d be here; I knew I was going to be here because my mom was always pushing me to go to college ever since elementary school. It was never a thought that I was not going to go to college, but to see it come to fruition, it’s crazy. It’s weird because my grandmother isn’t here with me, and she was going to come to my graduation. So, I’ve just been thinking, as the days get closer and closer to graduation, that I am making a lot of people proud and it’s not just about me, it’s about my whole family because now I’m setting myself up for the future so, when I have a family of my own, they have something they can look up to.”

Even though her college application process wasn’t the smoothest one, due to her and her family not having much knowledge about how to go through it and what to expect, Huey’s family support never wavered, and they made their presence felt throughout her college years.

“To my mom, thank you for being my mom and for being there with me through thick and thin,” she said. “Thank you for being a support system overall. I’ve never met such a strong and resilient woman and, I am who I am because of you, and I truly appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I love you.”

Huey’s immediate plan after graduation is to go into the United States Air Force and later on go into teaching prior to taking the LSAT and go to law school at Jacksonville University. As she embarks on a new journey, she will treasure her time at Stetson forever and will always remember one recurring thought she had during her years as a Hatter.

“I’m going to take with me the thought that whenever you think something can’t be accomplished, it can be,” she said. “Stetson really showed me that when you hear a no, there is always a yes around the corner, and even if you get the door shot in your face, you can always jump out of a window, and you’ll definitely find what you are looking for.”


During the event, the Multicultural Student Council recognized various organizations, students and faculty with a number of awards. These are as follow:

  • Most Visible Organization: Latinx Student Union
  • Most Outstanding Program of the Year: Caribbean Student Association (Caribbean Student Extravaganza)
  • Most Outstanding MSC President: De’Ja Smith (Caribbean Student Association) and Mary Gonzalez (Latinx Student Union)
  • Cecil P. Chick Award: Alexis Newman
  • The Pinnacle Award: Mary Gonzalez (Latinx Student Union)
  • Organization of the Year: Latinx Student Union and Caribbean Student Association
  • Multicultural Mentorship Award: Rev. Todd Campbell, Davion Belk and Alexis Newman

-Andrea Mujica