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Arizona State University celebrates 40th anniversary of Hispanic Convocation

May 1, 2024

What began as a small off-campus ceremony in the town of Guadalupe, Arizona, on May 12, 1984, has become a signature event of Arizona State University’s graduation celebrations. Reaching its 40th anniversary this spring, the celebration of Hispanic/Latino academic success and culture at ASU has grown exponentially since it began.

There were only 49 students at the very first Hispanic Convocation. Fast-forward 40 years, and more than 900 students are expected to participate in this spring’s celebration, where mariachi music and folklórico dancers are set to entertain more than 9,000 guests composed mainly of family and friends.

More than 4,100 Hispanic students are graduating from Arizona State University this spring. 

This year’s Hispanic Convocation will be hosted by ASU alumni and ABC 15 journalist Nicole Gutierrez. It is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 4, at 9 a.m.at Desert Financial Arena on the Tempe campus. 

In the past, the Hispanic Convocation has had its share of iconic Hispanic influencers and political figures provide remarks at the ceremony including labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez and Congressman Ed Pastor. This year, ASU welcomes alumni and activist Alfredo Gutierrez to serve as keynote speaker. Gutierrez attended ASU during the tumultuous ’60s and was later presented with an honorary doctorate degree. 

“The Hispanic Convocation is the largest multicultural ceremony at ASU that continues to grow every year. Before we know it, we’ll have to move it to the stadium,” said event manager Marissa Tuchalski with the Office of University Ceremonies.

In 2022, the Department of Education named ASU a Hispanic Serving Institution, which recognizes schools with at least 25% of the student body identifying as Hispanic. ASU was also one of nine institutions awarded the inaugural Seal of Excelencia in 2019 by the Washington, D.C.-based organization Excelencia in Education in recognition of efforts made to support and provide resources for Latino students to succeed. ASU earned a second Seal of Excelencia in 2022. 

With supportive programs that enlist the whole family, such as WeGrad, the Hispanic Mother-Daughter program, CAMP, the Migratory Student Summer Academy and others, Hispanic graduation trends are on the rise.

A recent report by Excelencia in Education indicates that Hispanic students account for the majority of growth of people in the U.S. earning college degrees. The report details a 4% increase of overall certificate and degree attainment in the past five years, with Latino students accounting for 23% of that increase. The report also shows Latinos’ largest growth was at the graduate level, with 41% increase in master’s degrees and 35% increase in doctoral degrees.

Please find more historic photos here. Please courtesy: Arizona State University.

Safety: ASU has security and law enforcement present at all commencement events. All graduates, faculty and guests will go through security. Graduates are instructed to carry their gowns into ceremonies, which is standard practice, and will be allowed to put them on after moving through security. Signs, banners and flags are prohibited. 

All guests must adhere to ASU’s Clear Bag Policy at Desert Financial Arena. This proactive measure enhances safety inside athletic venues and will speed up the security screening process. Commencement and convocation ceremonies are special events for all involved. Individuals who engage in inappropriate or disruptive behavior will be removed from the event. Click here for tips on attending commencement ceremonies.  

Media wishing to attend must RSVP at Gabriella.Kemp@asu.edu  by 3 p.m. Friday, May 3 for press credentials.

Gaby Kemp

Sr. Media Relations Officer
About Gaby