A group of smiling people stand together on a red carpet as they pose for a photo.

Black Student Support and Engagement (BSSE) builds community for Humber and University of Guelph-Humber (UGH) students.

Each year, BSSE organizes A Celebration of Black Graduates: Milestones in Melanin event that celebrates and highlights the accomplishments of Black students from Humber and UGH by acknowledging their triumphs, resilience and success. It’s a unique opportunity for the Humber and UGH Black community to connect and share their post-secondary experiences.

This year’s event was held at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation with keynote speakers from the Black community along with food, music and more.

Tenisha Noel is a graduate of the University of Guelph-Humber’s Justice Studies program and leaves with an Honours Bachelor of Applied Science in Justice Studies from the University of Guelph and a diploma in Community and Justice Services from Humber. Noel will pursue her Masters at York University in the fall with plans to attend Osgoode Hall Law School following its completion.

A smiling person stands on a red carpet with ballons and decorations behind them.

She joined BSSE in 2023 as a program liaison before moving into the outreach assistant position where she devised and executed outreach strategies and spearheaded the planning, development and execution of student-centric programs and events. In her role, Noel also fostered meaningful connections between community resources, networks and students.  

Her time with BSSE was memorable as she connected with students from different walks of life and programs that had coalesced into a tightknit community.

“Joining BSSE was one of my favourite parts of being at the University of Guelph-Humber. I still go back to BSSE to see the people there because I built such close connections with them,” said Noel. “Meeting people who understand your culture and having that community behind you is so impactful.”

Noel said having a community to turn to that understands what you’re experiencing was incredibly beneficial as she navigated post-secondary life.

She attended the Celebration of Black Graduates event and found it inspiring. Noel said it was a meaningful and engaging way to honour the Black graduates of Humber and UGH.

“It’s an important event to celebrate Black excellence because that’s not something that has always been celebrated,” said Noel.  

A smiling person wearing a graduation cap and a scarf that reads University of Guelph Humber.

The keynote speech was provided by Humber alumnus Antron McCoy who spoke about his time with IGNITE, his business career and his non-profit organization Afrika Outbound, which teaches participants about Black Canadian history. Noel volunteered with Afrika Outbound and was thrilled to see McCoy come and speak to her peers.

“This is someone who went to Humber who has gone on to be very successful,” said Noel. “Seeing someone from my community who went to my school do great things shows me that I’m able to accomplish my goals as well.”

Noel leaves Humber and UGH having made the honours list multiple semesters. She received multiple scholarships including the University of Guelph-Humber Student Leadership Scholarship, Jerome Henry Foundation Scholarship and the Judge Donald McLeod Bursary. Noel also earned several awards including the Guelph-Humber Women of Distinction Recognition and the Gold Medallion for Leadership Excellence for Justice Studies.

Find out more by visiting the BSSE website.