UVU Celebrates Black History Month 2022

Throughout February, Black History Month recognizes the achievements of Black Americans and the contributions they have made — and continue to make — to the economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development of the United States and nations around the globe.


Photo by Clayton Mueller

Throughout February, Black History Month recognizes the achievements of Black Americans and the contributions they have made — and continue to make — to the economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development of the United States and nations around the world. At UVU, we believe in the power of education and its ability to change lives. We also believe that a diverse student body and community brings strength to our story and the quality of education we offer. Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration and to get to know some of our UVU students, organizations, and initiatives that support our Black student community.

In January we were fortunate enough to have Philonise Floyd join us as the keynote speaker for MLK Commemoration week. The theme of the week was "Strength to Love: Engaging Our Full Humanity to Address Systemic Inequities." Floyd — brother of George “Perry” Floyd Jr., who was murdered by Minneapolis police officers in 2020 — spoke to the Utah Valley University community about the importance of communication, the willingness to have hard conversations about racism, and “turning pain into purpose.” 

You can watch Philonise Floyd's remarks below. 

Student leaders from the Black Student Union (BSU) and Multicultural Student Council (MSC) teamed up to create an artistic exhibit as a part of the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration week. This artistic exhibition draws on the theme “Strength to Love," the title used for a collection of social justice sermons Martin Luther King Jr. gave. It reminds us that being strong enough to love in action includes seeing the humanity in each other, regardless of differences. Students and leaders from the BSU and the MSC wanted to convey the beauty of visual solidarity and multiculturalism that acknowledges the humanity in all peoples.

Click here to preview this beautiful exhibit.

Black History Month

Photo by Isaac Hale

To kick the month off, we would like to spotlight UVU Black students and alumni through a collection of stories and showcase previous and upcoming events on campus. 

Join us at our featured Black History Month events:

Black History Month events

To celebrate our students, we have curated a collection of Wolverine Stories featuring some of our Black students and alumni from around the world. Past or present, our students are the future.

Green graphic


Leonard Bagalwa

"While I was at UVU, I worked to recruit other refugees like me to get their education. I started the UVU African Club, now the African Diaspora Initiative, to bring more diversity to UVU and to help students in the way that I had been helped while starting my degree."

View full story here.



Dinah Kibwe

"I decided to start joining clubs and get more involved. That’s when I saw UVU in a whole new light. I applied to some different clubs and joined the radio club, in which I participated for a little while. I also joined the Black Student Union (BSU), which probably had the most impact on me."

View full story here.



Demetrius Romero

"To anyone who is feeling discouraged, remember that you are not growing the moment you start to feel comfortable. Embrace that feeling of being uncomfortable because it shows that you are growing and making more out of yourself."  

View full story here


Melanie Griffin

"Specifically to students of color, it can be hard to come to Utah from a more diverse place. It can be lonely, but it's important to step out of your comfort zone. When you do, you will meet others like you and see great benefits in your life."  

View full story here.




Christian Appiah-Knudsen

"People used to call me the grandpa of UVU because of how long I stayed. … I didn’t even know what a research paper was when I began. But I didn’t give up. … I often stayed up until 1 or 2 a.m. studying. I knew what I wanted to achieve. Even after all of those failures, I was able to succeed."

View full story here



Akwasi Frimpong

"People always ask me, 'Who are you, Akwasi?' and I tell them, 'I am a father and a husband first, then an Olympian. I’m an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a public speaker.'"

View full story here. 


Djiba Soumaoro

"I want to give hope to disadvantaged and marginalized people in the same way some incredible people from Utah gave hope and opportunity to me while I was living in extreme poverty. I want to pay forward all the good that I have received in life."

View full story here.




Aliyu Bob Ajokaiye

"They called me the 'Ghetto Professor' because I worked tirelessly in the slums of Nigeria. I passionately worked with these young gang members, sharing the story of my brother and sacrificing many hours to ensure that members of my community could get a higher education." 

View full story here.




Utah Valley University's African Diaspora is an intergenerational and international community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members of diverse African/Black identities. 

Our collective mission is to serve as a home away from home and to provide scholarship, networking, and leadership opportunities for students of the African Diaspora.