The Rites of Passage Ceremony is a celebration to honor Black and Latinx-identified students who, through resolute persistence, have successfully completed an Undergraduate or Graduate degree at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. With the events of COVID-19 changing life as we all know it, the resolute persistence and pure grit of the class of 2020 is evident even more now. This event recognizes their accomplishments, hard work and dedication, while simultaneously acknowledging the contributions of their families and networks of support. The Rites of Passage Ceremony Reception will be held immediately afterwards virtually and will be DJ’ed over IG live.


The 2020 Rites of Passage Ceremony will be held on Friday May 29, 2020 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. virtually.


Participation in the Rites of Passage Ceremony is targeted toward all Black and Latinx Undergraduate and Graduate Rutgers University – New Brunswick students who are expected to earn their degree between January 2020 and October 2020.

Students must register by May 16 in order to participate. Opportunities to speak/perform at the ceremony are listed below.

Register by visiting the Rites of Passage event on the Rutgers getINVOLVED website here!


There are multiple ways that the Rutgers University community (students, staff, faculty and alumni) can participate in the Rites of Passage Ceremony.


May 15-29: #RUROPchallenge

    • Graduating students! Share appreciation and thanks to those that have helped them along the journey!
    • Family/faculty/staff/friends will have the opportunity to post messages of pride and support
    • Can be a video/word post/audio
    • Post must have hashtag #RUROPchallenge


May 15-29: #dontrushchallenge

    • Students will have the opportunity to show off regalia, cap, & gown if they have already purchased it this Spring in anticipation of commencement and other ceremonies
    • Show off any outfit for your #dontrushchallenge
    • Posts will be encouraged in Facebook event on public Instagram pages
    • Will not exclude anyone who wants to create #dontrushchallenge video
Paul Robeson Award

The Paul Robeson Award presented at the Rites of Passage Ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of a current Rutgers University – New Brunswick graduating senior who will enroll in a Rutgers graduate program the upcoming fall. The Rites of Passage Ceremony is a celebration to honor Black and Latinx-identified students who through resolute persistence have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

The Paul Robeson Award is funded by the Rutgers African American Alumni Alliance (RAAA). RAAA, Inc. strives to foster and enhance unity amongst Alumni, students, faculty and staff of African ancestry via programming and active participation in the lives of students. It is their goal to harness the potential of the Rutgers African American Alumni network to be the voice of their constituents to affect positive change at Rutgers University and the community at large.

Scholarship Submissions must be submitted by May 24, 2020 to be considered. 

Apply Here

Virtual Graduation Stole on Snapchat

Check out our virtual graduation kente stole on snapchat! Scan with your mobile phone or visit go.rutgers.edu/prcckentestole


Frequently Asked Questions

The ceremony centers Black and Latinx-identified Rutgers University–New Brunswick Undergraduate and Graduate students who are expected to earn their degree between January 2020 and October 2020. All Rutgers University community members are invited to participate in the virtual celebration.

Kente stoles are available on a first-come first serve basis. To increase the likelihood of graduating students receiving stoles, you must register and submit your commemorative slide by May 16. Limited availability.

Saturday, May 16th, 2020 is the last day to submit your information to be included in the Rites of Passage Virtual Ceremony. No information will be included if it is submitted after this date!

  • Use the camera app on your iPhone, android, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • Wipe your device’s camera lens with a cloth before you start recording. This will ensure a crisper video quality.
  • Keep the device far enough away from your face to ensure your entire head is in the shot.  
  • Record horizontally, often referred to as a landscape format. DO NOT hold the phone vertically, like you might when recording an Instagram Story or Snapchat video.
  • Hold or prop up the device at a flattering angle. If possible, the device should be at eye level or slightly higher.
  •  If you are holding the device (iPhone, tablet, etc.), try to keep the device steady to avoid a shaky video.
  • Look directly at your device’s camera lens when recording.
  • Keep your message concise. The video should not exceed one-minute in length. Consider writing down your message and practice before you start recording.
  • Record in a quiet space.
  • Record in a well-lit space. Natural light is preferred, so if you are recording inside, try to face a window. If there are no windows in your space, turn on all artificial lights and face the light source. DO NOT record with the window or light source BEHIND you. This will result in a dark video.

The link to view the virtual ceremony will be made publicly available on the Paul Robeson Cultural Center website and on all PRCC social media channels. The link will also be sent via email to all virtual ceremony registrants. 

Both the Data Collection Website and the Virtual Ceremony Website will be screen reader capable (VPAT and WCAG 2.1 Compliant).

If you have any questions or concerns related to the Rites of Passage Ceremony, please email rop@echo.rutgers.edu. You will receive a response to your inquiry within two business days.