Los Angeles Congresswoman Dr. Diane Watson will be the keynote speaker of the 2005 Loyola Marymount University Office of Black Student Services Kente Graduation on Friday May 6, 4:00 p.m., at LMU’s Sacred Heart Chapel.
She will be introduced by Reverend Cecil Murray of the First AME Church.
During the Kente Graduation, founded by African American faculty and staff in the early 90s, graduates are symbolically presented an African Kente cloth stole, as well as other African keepsakes. The symbolic ceremony highlights the achievements and milestones of LMU’s African American graduates and is celebrated with families, friends, alumni and the LMU community.
The formal graduation ceremony will be preceded by a reception at 2:30 p.m. African drummers will accompany the speakers, faculty and graduating class as they proceed into the chapel.
Born in Los Angeles, Watson is a lifetime resident of the 33rd California Congressional District. After graduating from Dorsey High School, she attended Los Angeles City College and took a B.A. in Education at UCLA. She also holds an M.A. in School Psychology from California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD in Educational Administration from the Claremont Graduate School.
An elementary school teacher and school psychologist in Los Angeles public schools, she was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in 1957. In 1978, she was elected to the California State Senate where she chaired the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee.In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Watson United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. She served there until 2001 when she returned to California to run for Congress in a special election, following the death of Congressman Julian Dixon. She was reelected in 2002 and again in 2004.