ROYGBIV: Celebrations of diversity

4 minutes




To honor the accomplishments of recently graduating Sun Devils, Arizona State University hosted 33 ceremonies this spring, some of which were smaller convocations that supported the heritage or specific interests of the students.

Often held at either the Tempe campus Student Pavilion or ASU Gammage, these special-interest and cultural convocations offer a more private setting for friends and family to gather and celebrate a student's accomplishments — unlike its larger graduate and undergraduate commencement counterpart (which occur at the Mountain America Stadium and Desert Financial Arena)

Held annually by Educational Outreach and Student Services, convocations are hallmark events that celebrate the achievements and dedication of ASU's diverse student body, emphasizing individual student appreciation.


Kicking off convocation season, the Asian/Asian Pacific American Convocation honored the accomplishments of ASU's Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander Sun Devils on Saturday morning, May 4,

Al Nieva, an Applied Computing (Cybersecurity) graduate from the New College of  Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, spoke about how when she “started attending Arizona State University, I came with the intent to get my degree and get out. I'm here, though, and I have found so much more than my diploma.”

“In my first semester here, I learned that there was a club for Pacific Islanders and Asians,” Nieva said “Across my entire life, I've only ever had one Filipino friend. When I attended the club for the first time, I learned that there was more here than I realized. There was a community. I found a community here, in many different places. I found places here where I could find relationships and support, and before I realized it, I was part of those communities and providing support and relationships to others.”


The Student Pavilion stage was immediately reset for the International Student Stole Ceremony after the Asian/Asian Pacific American Convocation. Having accepted students from 157 different countries, ASU was recently recognized as one of the best public universities for international students for the third year in a row.

Devarshan Patel, an ASU graduate majoring in computer information systems and technology entrepreneurship management, graduated from Ira A. Fulton and W. P. Carey School of Business. Devarshan was asked about his experience as an international student at ASU.

“The whole landscape of ASU, alongside the faculty and also the international staff, has helped me immensely, whether it's to deal with an immigration issue or deal with academics or whether to find external opportunities that would help me in the future,” Patel said.

Devarshan is moving into a full-time position immediately after graduation. 


The following Tuesday, May 7, the Rainbow Convocation focused on celebrating the accomplishments of ASU’s 2SLGBTQIA+ graduates. 
Pat Rungrodkitiyot (they/them) earned a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and found a community on campus.“It's amazing that we have a wonderful community of LGBTQIA+, allies and people who actually want to support us for actually achieving these achievements, these large achievements that some people just wouldn't have the chance to do, especially with the crackdown on trans rights and women's rights. To be a part of this community is more than anything I could say.”


Two days later, on Thursday, May 9, ASU Gammage hosted the Black African Convocation, a celebration of ASU’s Black, African American and African student graduates.
Student speaker Ahlias Jones talked about the Black African community, making a comparison to the book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

“I am an invisible man,” Jones said. “I am a man of substance, flesh and bone. Fiber and liquids. And I might even have a mind. I’m invisible because people refuse to see me as the bodiless head you sometimes see in circus sideshows. It’s as though I’ve been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorted glass. When they approach me, they only see the surroundings themselves or figments of their imaginations. Indeed, everything and anything — except for me.”

He continues on about how Black African students have come up to him, saying how they feel that their professors do not care about who they are as people, making them invisible. How their peers refuse to acknowledge their existence. The graduates sitting beside him have not only sparked community but have set it ablaze.




“Earlier, I spoke of legacy. So now, what will your legacy be? How can we continue with the legacy we have built,” later saying, “Invest in the next generation. Immerse yourself in the network that you have built. Engage in the alumni community that you are now a part of.”

There is always a family to be found within the convocations

The Office of Government and Community Engagement, the ASU Alumni Veterans chapter, American Indian Student Support Services, and the Hispanic Convocation were among the ceremonies held for graduating Sun Devils, in addition to the heritage and special-interest convocations hosted by Educational Outreach and Student Services. ASU is committed to honoring students and actively promoting a safe and inclusive environment.

Nancy Beckley, ASU Student Life