About

The Southeast Asian Graduation, or commonly known as SEA Grad, celebrates and congratulates the achievements and efforts of Southeast Asian graduates as individuals and as a community. This graduation event acknowledges the hardships and struggles of the past, the accomplishments of today, and the leader of tomorrow within the Southeast Asian Community. The Southeast Asian community is marginalized, and the students are often underrepresented. Consequently, the numbers of Southeast Asians in higher education are very low. While they make up almost 1/3 of the Asian American and Pacific Islander American population, Southeast Asians constitute less than 1% of college campuses. Nonetheless, while we make up a small portion of the population, it is important to commemorate the accomplishments and achievements of Southeast Asian students who have earned their diplomas and have helped their communities in the process. Even though we can be labeled as Southeast Asian, we are all different, each capable of sharing a unique and often difficult journey. These journeys will be captured and recognized at SEA Grad, where families and friends unite to share stories, inspire neighbors and continue to impact the community and world. Moreover, this graduation signifies the beginning of a reversing of trends; that future generations of Southeast Asians have the ability to go to college as the pathways to higher education are being paved.

SEA Grad first came about in 2004 by three SASC members: Betty Duong, Vickie Peng, and Nkaui Iab Yang. As they were aware of numbers Southeast Asian students graduating from the UC Berkeley Campus, they realize a special commencement was needed to acknowledge these students achievements in higher education. With the first graduation class of about 20 Southeast Asian students, SEA Grad has now expanded to a graduating class of about 45 students each year and still growing for years to come.

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