Celebrating Native American graduates Published: June 13, 2013 By: Sharon Page-Medrich On Saturday, May 18, 2013, a special graduation ceremony sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Program (AIGP) and the Native American Studies program of the Department of Ethnic Studies was held at the Alumni House. The event, replete with special performances and speakers, recognized and celebrated Native American students receiving degrees from myriad disciplines. Of the 20 graduating students, two earned academic doctorates, two law degrees, four master’s degrees, and 12 bachelor’s degrees. Each was honored with a traditional Pendleton blanket, a symbol of achieving a major milestone, bestowing honor and respect upon the recipient. Student speakers expressed gratitude towards the faculty and staff of the Native American Student Development program for their support and guidance. Andrew Szeri, Dean of the Graduate Division — which has championed the AIGP from its beginnings — highlighted the increased participation of Native students in UC Berkeley’s graduate programs. “The quadrupling of Native American doctoral degree recipients over the last 20 years is something we should be very proud of indeed,” he said, referring to the campus statistics. “This comes from so much hard work on the part of the students and the AIGP.” The American Indian Graduate Program’s mission is to increase the enrollment and graduation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students in all graduate programs at UC Berkeley. The AIGP seeks through general outreach, individual recruitment, and student services to advance Native communities, both urban and rural, by broadening academic and professional opportunities for these students through graduate education. The program assists students with advocacy, social support and events, finding financial aid, networking opportunities, housing and childcare. Find more information on the AIGP website.