Student center

Black Student Center holds pinning ceremony for incoming students: Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Indiana— Indiana University’s Black Student Center at Kokomo welcomed incoming students and began surrounding them with community in its first-ever pinning ceremony.

Six students participated in the inaugural celebration on Monday, April 25 in the atrium of Hunt Hall.

JC Barnett III, director of the Black Student Center, said he hoped hosting the event would make the campus more visible within the black community.

“IU Kokomo is a hidden treasure, and I want to make sure they know they can come here and get a bachelor’s degree in their community,” he said. “I believe this is the start of something very special that can happen here. It’s a very special place, and this event helps students identify with this space and find people who are like them.

Each student received a one-inch acrylic pin with the Black Student Center logo on it, presented by a black faculty or staff member.

“The brooch itself is such an insignificant thing, but it represents a very important thing,” Barnett said. “It honors the fact that these students made a conscious decision to pursue their academic endeavors at IU Kokomo and truly take ownership of their destinies.”

Barnett said the ceremony gives these admitted students a chance to meet people who can reassure them that there will be a community to support them.

“When people think of IU Kokomo, knowing that it’s a predominantly white campus, they think this space is not for them as it is for others,” he said. “When they walk into this space and see Black faculty, staff and students, it leaves a lasting impression on them.”

Senior Nakayla Humphrey, president of the Black Student Union, was one of three students who spoke at the event. She said it would have meant a lot to her to have had a ceremony like this when she first signed up. She wasn’t sure about meeting other black students and was nervous about trying to make new friends.

“It would have been nice to meet new people before I got to campus, so I wouldn’t be so scared when it was time to go to class,” said Humphrey, of Kokomo. “It’s important for black students to know they’re welcome on campus, especially when you don’t often see people who look like you in class. It’s nice to know that there will be people you have something in common with.

Other student speakers were seniors Tia Chambers, Mishawaka, and Desean Hampton, Speedway. Taylor Lee, a Kokomo senior, presented a spoken word performance.

Students honored at the pinning ceremony included Kyle Poates, Floyds Knobs; Blessing Akinniranye, Linden Edwards and Pierce Stout, Indianapolis; and Simara McCracken and Joshua Smith, Kokomo.

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, Mark Canada, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Rosalyn Davis, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling Program, and Tess Barker , Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, provided a welcome on campus.

The Black Student Center is part of the IU Kokomo Multicultural Center. For more information, visit