TEMPE, Ariz. - Approximately 2,000 family members, friends and tribal leaders gathered for the American Indian Convocation at Arizona State University (ASU) on May 10 to commemorate the achievements of 265 American Indian students.
Representing 65 Indian tribes from throughout the United States and Canada, these students are one of the largest indigenous classes to graduate from ASU.
The American Indian Student Support Services program sponsored the event.
On hand to honor these graduates were a number of Arizona tribal leaders including President Diane Enos (Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community), Governor Thomas Dailey, Sr. (Laguna Pueblo), Vice Chairman Herman Honanie (Hopi Tribe), Governor Gregory Mendoza (Gila River Indian Community), Vice President Jim Rex Lee (Navajo Nation), Lt. Governor Stephen Roe Lewis (Gila River Community) and Chairman Ned Norris (Tohono O'odham Nation). Mendoza's keynote address encouraged graduates to take hold of the challenges and opportunities that lay before them, both individually and within their tribal governments.
The convocation also included the presentation of certificates and outstanding student awards like the the ASU Native American Alumni Chapter's Dukepoo Award. The Heard Museum presented the Eagle Spirit Awards to Candace Dawn French (Wichita/ Navajo/Comanche/ Blackfeet), who received a master of arts degree in criminal justice, and Lei-Lani White (Navajo), who received a doctor of nursing practice degree.
In addition, ASU's American Indian Studies program presented the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Medal to undergraduate student Madison Fulton (Navajo).
All graduates received an American Indian Student Support Services traditional Pendleton blanket as a commemorative gift to honor their success.