Senior Mwambo Honors Black Graduates

Denise Mincey-Mills, president and CEO of J & J Enterprises will address the students.

Coral Gables (May 11, 2011) — The University of Miami Multicultural Student Affairs hosts the 19th annual Senior Mwambo ceremony to honor its young black graduates on Thursday, May 12 at 2 p.m. in the Gusman Concert Hall, (1314 Miller DrAive) on the Coral Gables Campus. Denise Mincey-Mills, President and CEO of J & J Enterprises and a graduate of UM’s School of Business Administration, will address the students. 

"Mwambo," a Chichewa word from Malawi, East Africa, means ceremonial rite of passage.  It is a celebration of the transition from one stage of life to the next.  The African Rite of Passage ceremony is designed to recognize the accomplishments of the graduates and their families.  In addition, graduates, faculty, and staff will be honored for both their academic achievements and contributions to the black student community.

Denise Mincey-Mills, well-known in Florida for her community leadership and achievements in project management, administration, business development, negotiation, and commercial construction and community relations is president and chief executive officer of J & J Enterprises as well as vice president, Florida Operations for Hightowers Petroleum.  She has more than 27 years of experience in commercial construction and project administration, having worked on projects totaling more than $1 billion. In 2006, she completed a $12 million construction management road project in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A community volunteer and leader, she has long-standing, strong working relationships with state and local community leaders and civic organizations. Mincey-Mills is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, and she was honored as one of only five African-American Achievers in 2002 by JM Family Enterprises. She was inducted into the national honor fraternity Omicron Delta Kappa at the University of Miami in 2002 and in 2004 she was tapped into Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami. Mincey-Mills was also the recipient of the 2001 President’s Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners in Miami. In addition, the University of Miami honored her for the leadership role she has played in developing the UM Black Alumni Association. She received the Orange Award in 2004 for her service to the University of Miami Alumni Association.

Mincey-Mills has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami, where she is currently a member of the UM President’s Council and previously served as vice president of the UM Alumni Association Board of Directors. She also has a paralegal degree from Capital Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

The Mwambo has four symbolic components, all of which are represented during the ceremony: food to nourish the body and spirit, music to invoke God and the ancestral spirits, water to represent the medium of life, and Kente cloth will be worn over the academic robes at commencement the following day. The celebration will end with African music and a reception for the graduating seniors and their families.  

For more information on Senior Mwambo, contact Luz Paniagua-Calderon, Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs at 305-284-2855. 

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The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond.  Committed to excellence and proud of the diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. www.miami.edu


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University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.