photo from spring 2023

American Indian Graduation Ceremony

The Spring 2024 American Indian Graduation ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 30th from 6-8PM. Invitations for the spring ceremony will be sent to eligible students in early March. 

The AIHC is pleased to be able to celebrate our American Indian graduates each semester. We host a graduation ceremony in December and May each year, where students receive a special American Indian Scholar stole.  The event is by invitation only and requires all students to register for participation. If you have questions, please contact James Rudd at

American Indian Graduation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What cultural elements are typically incorporated into the American Indian Graduation? 

At our American Indian Graduation ceremony, students enter to the melodies of the American Indian flute. The commencement begins with an opening song, performed by an American Indian hand drummer and singer. We also observe UNC Pembroke’s American Indian land acknowledgement, and the ceremony concludes with a closing song, again presented by the drummer/singer. 


What is the dress attire for the American Indian Graduation?  

The attire for the American Indian Graduation is business casual or traditional attire (I.e., ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt). American Indian graduates are highly encouraged to wear their traditional attire. 


I didn't receive an invite, but I am graduating this semester. What should I do?

Students who registered to graduate prior to September 30, 2023 were included on the list of eligible students who received invites for the December ceremony. If you registered after this date, we would not have your information. Please email James Rudd at to be added to the list (by the registration deadline of 11/21). 

Can I wear my regalia? 

 If you would like to wear your regalia, you have permission to do so. This graduation celebrates American Indian students and their culture.  


Do students wear their academic regalia (I.e., graduation gown and cap)? 

 No, students do not wear their academic regalia (I.e., graduation gown and cap). The regalia is worn at the formal graduation hosted by UNC Pembroke. 


Do I receive an eagle or hawk feather at the American Indian Graduation? 

 American Indian graduates do not receive a feather at the American Indian Graduation ceremony.  


Will I receive a stole or chord at the American Indian Graduation? 

 American Indian graduates will be presented with a stole with the inscription ‘American Indian Scholar.’ This stole is intended to be worn during UNC Pembroke’s formal graduation ceremony. 


If I don’t attend the American Indian Graduation, can I still receive my stole? 

Only students that attend the American Indian Graduation can receive their stole. If you do not attend, you cannot receive a stole. 


Will I receive a diploma at the American Indian Graduation? 

American Indian graduates will receive a certificate recognizing their academic accomplishments during their time as a student at UNC Pembroke.  


Do I have to be a member of a federally or state recognized tribe to participate in the American Indian Graduation? 

 You do not have to be an enrolled member of a federally or state recognized tribe to attend. 


Can my family and friends attend the American Indian Graduation? 

Students are encouraged to invite family and friends to celebrate with them.  


Is there a limit to how many guests I can invite? 

While there is no strict limit on the number of guests you can invite, we highly encourage you to consider limiting your guest count to three individuals. This recommendation is made to accommodate the large graduating class and the limited seating. 


Can I attend the American Indian Graduation without registering? 

 If you do not register for the American Indian Graduation ceremony, you cannot attend.  


I am a graduate of UNC Pembroke, but didn’t receive a stole when I graduated, can I purchase a stole? 

No, American Indian Graduation stoles can only be received by American Indian graduates attending the American Indian Graduation. The stoles are not for sale and Alumni cannot receive and or obtain one. 


I am an American Indian faculty/staff member, and I am receiving my degree from another institution, can I receive a stole? 

No, only American Indian students graduating from UNC Pembroke can receive a stole. 


We trust that this FAQ sheet has provided answers to your questions about the American Indian Graduation ceremony. Should you require additional information or have further questions, kindly reach out to James Rudd, our Student Success Advocate, via email at Your questions are important to us, and we’re here to assist you in any way that we can! 


-AIHC Team