Map & Data Resources

One graduation for all or add-on ceremonies for minority students?

Map & Data Resources | By Meade Klingensmith |

March 13, 2013 — All colleges and universities have a graduation ceremony that is intended for all students. But some schools have optional additional ceremonies for students who are Asian, Black, Latino, LGBT, Native American / American Indian, Pilipino, or Vietnamese. Others also have what they describe as “multicultural” graduation ceremonies.

We examined what we call “flagship or equivalent” schools. These are each state’s leading public university campus or campuses. We also examined the “top 25” universities and liberal arts colleges as determined by this year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings (three of the flagship or equivalent schools are cited as being in the top 25 universities).

Of all schools, 66 percent had a least one optional ceremony, with ceremonies most common among public universities. The most frequently available ceremony was for LGBT students, with 58 percent of all schools having such a ceremony. Ceromonies for Black students existed at 33 percent of all schools examined; 22 percent of all such schools had ceremonies for Latino students.

The chart below is sortable by category of school and shows each of the ceremonies for each school in that category. On the next page, there are summary data showing the percentage of schools with each type of ceremony and the percentage of schools with different aggregate numbers of ceremonies.

Note that Carleton College is listed as having no separate graduation ceremonies although the school states on its website that it has a “multicultural senior ceremony celebration.” See the school’s explanation here.

Click here for important additional notes.

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