Important Updates about COVID-19

Read more about UNCP's response to COVID-19.

Brayboy, Bourquin named winter Commencement speakers


Dr. Bryan Brayboy, senior advisor to the President for American Indian Affairs at Arizona State University, and Dr. Steven Bourquin, a math professor at UNCP, will serve as keynote speakers during the winter 2016 Commencement at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. 

The university will hold two commencement ceremonies. A ceremony for students receiving graduate degrees will be held on Friday, December 9, at 7 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center. 

The undergraduate ceremony will be held Saturday, December 10, at 10 a.m. in the main gym of the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center. 

UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings will confer approximately 599 degrees; including 512 undergraduate degrees and about 87 at the graduate level.

Bourquin, the 2016 recipient of the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, will deliver the keynote address during the graduate ceremony. 

The Board of Governors gives this award to a tenured faculty member on each campus of the UNC System for excellent and exceptional undergraduate teaching over a sustained period of time. 

Bourquin has more than 25 years of teaching experience in higher education. He has taught in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at UNC Pembroke since 2003. He has served as department chair since 2007. 

According to Bourquin’s teaching philosophy, all of the concepts taught in his courses center on the idea that “mathematics is a participation sport” which explains his lessons involve generous interaction and discussion among students. 

He is a two-time recipient of the UNCP Outstanding Teaching Award and a former interim dean of the Esther G. Maynor Honors College. He served on the Athletic Advisory Committee which helped revitalize the football program at UNC Pembroke. 

A native of Louisville, Ohio and former college athlete, Bourquin earned a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University. He later obtained a master’s degree in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Administration in Higher Education, both, from Ohio University. 

Dr. Brayboy, who has strong family ties to Robeson County and UNC Pembroke, will share his experiences with the undergraduates. Brayboy serves as the President’s Professor and Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. 

At ASU, he also serves as director of the Center for Indian Education, associate director of the School of Social Transformation, and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. 

From 2007 to 2012, he was Visiting President’s Professor of Indigenous Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  

Dr. Brayboy is an affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies, English, Learning Sciences Institute, and Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU.  

He is the author and editor of eight volumes, dozens of articles and book chapters, and has written multiple policy briefs for the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.   

His research focuses on the role of race and diversity in higher education, and the experiences of Indigenous students, staff, and faculty in institutions of higher education.    

He is a nationally and internationally recognized academic and speaker on the topic of Indigenous education, having been a visiting and noted scholar in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Norway.    

His work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Ford, Mellon, Kellogg, and Spencer Foundations, and several other private and public foundations and organizations.  He and his team have, over the past 15 years, prepared over 150 Native teachers to work in American Indian communities.  

Brayboy joined the ASU faculty in 2007. Prior to that, he taught for several years at the University of Utah. He also served as the principal investigator of the University of Utah American Indian Teacher Training Program. He also was the executive director for the Center for the Study of Race and Diversity in Higher Education at the University of Utah.  

Dr. Brayboy earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds a master’s degree in Intercultural Communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Secondary Social Studies from Trinity College in Washington, D.C.  

Brayboy completed his Ph.D., with highest distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the Editorial Board for the American Educational Research Journal. He is a founding member of, both, the Center for Native American Studies and the Association of Native Alumni at the University of Pennsylvania.   

A North Carolina native and enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe, Brayboy’s families are from the Prospect and Pembroke communities. He is the son of Dr. Bobby Brayboy of Lumberton and the late Dr. Mary E. Jones Brayboy, both UNC Pembroke alumni. 

UNC Pembroke is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system. For more information, contact Jodi Phelps, executive director of University Communications and Marketing, via email ( or by phone (910.521.6863). Connect with UNC Pembroke on social media or online at to learn how the university is changing lives through education.