NEW YORK — Columbia University senior student-athletes Devon Roeper ‘17CC and Kesi Neblett ‘17SEAS were honored with graduation cords by the Office of Multicultural Affairs on Tuesday. Roeper, a member of the women's basketball team, and Neblett, a member of the volleyball team, were among 135 total recipients.

The OMA Graduation Cords are given to graduating seniors in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and School of General Studies who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to inclusion, global diversity, social justice, and multiculturalism through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, campus leadership, community involvement, academic endeavors, activism, and/or personal dedication.

Worn in the various graduation ceremonies, the graduation cords are also a powerful visual symbol of our new graduates' ongoing commitment as alumni in continuing and sharing the office's mission of advancing the strength within communities, acknowledging diversity in the different aspects of their lives, working toward a socially just society, honoring our different and intersecting legacies of struggle and survival, and building meaningful coalitions across identities.

Roeper was selected for an OMA Graduation Cord in large part for her dedication to community service. She has multiple mission trips to decimated areas of Uganda, even helping to build a basetball court in a jungle outside of Mukono. Roeper co-founded an organization called “Team Phenom,” which is administered under the 501 c3 non-profit organization, Children's Heritage Foundation. Roeper's participation in community service over the years also includes trips to Mexico, Tijuana and Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. She was one of five NCAA Div. I women's basketball players named to the 2015 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team.

Neblett was selected for an OMA Graduation Cord for her commitment to using her talents as an engineering student to serve the community. As the Professional Relations Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers, Neblett conducts workshops with high school students about college preparation leading into math and science fields and coordinates events between professionals and NSBE members. She also spent a summer interning for the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools, leading a classroom of 10 middle school students in a reading, math, art, and history rich curriculum.