High-Ranking Universities That Hold Separate Graduation Events for African Americans

An informal survey by JBHE has found that at least 10 of the nation’s 30 highest-ranked universities hold some form of separate graduation ceremony for African Americans who have completed their degree programs.

For example, at Stanford University about 200 black students who have completed their undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree program attend a special ceremony in the Stanford Memorial Church with their families on the night before the regular university graduation. Family members join the graduate on stage and place a kente cloth around the shoulders of the graduate when his or her name is called. The Stanford black graduation ceremony has been conducted for more than 30 years.

Other high-ranking universities that hold special commencement events for black graduates include Northwestern University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Washington University, and the University of Southern California.